More Affordable Birth Control

If you take Yasmin, the answer is yes. The first-ever generic form of the pill, called Ocella, will be arriving at pharmacies as soon as this weekend. Yasmin is one of the most popular OCs on the market. In addition to providing birth control, it helps clear up acne and ease severe PMS (known as PMDD) symptoms. And unlike other forms of the pill, it contains a mild diuretic, which reduces fluid retention and diminishes bloating.

But women taking Yasmin spend more for contraception, even if they have insurance, because prescription medication co-pays are higher for brand-name meds. "Women who take Yasmin now have a less expensive option," says Carol Livoti, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn on SHAPE's advisory board. If your co-pay is $20 a month, you may see your cost drop down to $8 or even $5 with Ocella, depending on your plan's specifics.

Cheaper...But Safe?

Under an agreement, Bayer, the company that makes Yasmin will provide a generic form to Barr Pharmaceuticals, the company that will package and sell it as Ocella. This means that the drug formulation is exactly the same, says Livoti. "It's when a generics company is manufacturing a drug, that there can be very slight differences in dose control compared to the original brand." (Even in that case, she says, 99 percent of people would not notice a difference.) If you take Yasmin, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the generic version is right for you.

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