Expensive Fertility Drugs Being Sold and Distributed on the Black Market
Many couples will do just about anything when they are struggling to get pregnant. But new research shows that for some, buying prescription medications over the Internet through the black market is no exception.
CBS Boston spoke with Dr. Brian Berger of Boston IVF about the issue.
“It’s more common than we think,” Berger said. “I think for the people that self pay, they are paying out of pocket.”
Between 85 and 90% of infertility cases are treated with either surgical procedures or drug therapy options. Yet many patients’ insurance will not cover the costs of these drugs, so they are looking elsewhere.
Nicole, a 44-year-old Boston woman, turned to Berger for fertility assistance, but her insurance doesn’t cover treatment for women her age.
“Extremely disappointing, shocking,” Nicole said of the issue. “It’s a big choice and then when you take paying out of pocket into consideration, it just makes it all that much more difficult.”
For some families, fertility drugs can cost as much as $10,000 on top of the cost for treatment and other general medical costs. These high prices can present significant obstacles for individuals and couples struggling with infertility.
“If you need to get medications and you can’t afford it,” Berger noted, “people are going to try to get it in other ways. Some of those ways may be getting it off the street so to speak.”
I-Team reporter Lauren Leamanczyk found that on websites like Craigslist.com and freegaragesale.com, there were many people willing to ship IVF drugs for as low as half the price.
Berger fears that more damage could be done if these drugs are not properly handled. “They could be actually injecting themselves with something that’s not the medication,” he warned.
For couples who cannot afford fertility medicines, there are legal discount programs available in some areas.