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The land of choice has more limited options when it comes to contraception.
Rigid regulations and cost-prohibitive clinical trial requirements—among other factors, like dwindling patents and pricey product liability insurance—sap the profitability of new products and reduce market incentive for smaller manufacturers.
Meanwhile, incumbent IUD manufacturers enjoy a virtual monopoly. “The FDA as it is right now is a huge barrier to entry into that market, and the big drug companies like that just fine,” says Michael Cannon, the director of health policy studies at the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank. If regulations were less stringent, there would be more drug companies making and marketing more IUDs. And IUDs would be cheaper. Without competition, the manufacturers set the price. The Liberté, which is nearly identical to America’s ParaGard IUD, sells for $52 Canadian. “How in the world is the ParaGard selling for $480-to-$600 dollars in the U.S.?” Carter asks.