John E. Knodel photo

Do Free Pills Make a Difference? Thailand's Experience

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., T. Bennett, and S. Panyadilok. 1984. "Do Free Pills Make a Difference? Thailand's Experience." International Family Planning Perspectives, 10(3): 93-97.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 1976, the National Family Planning Program in Thailand abolished charges for oral contraceptives distributed through government outlets. Although the policy was not always implemented as stipulated, a 1981 survey shows that 56 percent of pill users in the government program received the pill free and another 24 percent paid less than they had previously. The free pill policy is associated with an increase in new pill users. Moreover, the increased adoption of the pill through government health outlets neither depleted new users of other methods nor caused any significant substitution of free pills for ones bought through the private sector. Continuation rates immediately following elimination of charges increased slightly, although they have subsequently declined. This does not appear to be the result of the free pill policy since the highest continuation rates were among women who received the pill free.

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