Today I saw a 24-year-old patient who landed her first job a year ago. Her OB/GYN had prescribed Beyaz as an oral contraceptive for her and she was paying $95 a month to fill it, she told me with tears in her eyes. “Are there other options?” she asked. Oh yeah, there are.
What’s Beyaz? Well, Beyaz is Yaz (now available also as Gianvi and Loryna, and in a slightly different formulation as Yasmin, Ocella, and Zarah) mixed with folic acid. When Bayer pharmaceuticals lost the patent for Yaz, it mixed Yaz with folic acid and re-marketed it as Beyaz. For Beyaz you will pay almost twice as much as for a Yaz generic. It’s the same medication, drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol, now just mixed with folic acid.
Why folic acid? 400 mcg a day of folic acid is recommended for women of reproductive age to prevent the development of neural tube defects. I love that Beyaz makes taking folic acid more convenient, mixing it with an oral contraceptive — but at what cost? You can buy four hundred tablets of folic acid 400 mcg for about $10 from the pharmacy. Adding folic acid to Yaz to make Beyaz is not worth the $90-$95 per month for that pill. Not in this economy and, come to think of it, not ever. We’ve been tricked.
Beyaz is available at most pharmacies, with a cost ranging from $80 to $95 for a 30-day supply. If Beyaz is covered by insurance, it is typically a Tier 2 or Tier 3 drug, meaning you’ll likely pay your middle to maximum copay, or full price. Yaz generics range in cost from $50 to $75 for a 30-day supply, and are typically covered by insurance as Tier 1 drugs, meaning you’ll pay your minimum copay.