Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Norplant Shipments Halted as Firm Addresses Shelf-Life Concerns


But other reproductive health advocates are more alarmed. "If you've gone through the trouble of having it implanted, it might be discomfiting to know it may not be effective," Amy Allina, program director for the National Women's Health Network, tells WebMD. "Removal is not a simple procedure for many women, who've had it thinking that it will last for five years."

Planned Parenthood affiliates perform about 9,000 Norplant implants a year, Thomsen says, but the federation doesn't yet know how many of its patients got implants from the questionable lots.

Thomsen says she is concerned that shipments have been suspended, since "long-term birth control methods are sorely needed." Other popular long-term, reversible methods include the intrauterine device (IUD) and the hormone injection Depo-Provera.

Norplant is highly effective as a contraceptive, with results comparable to having one's tubes tied. It works for five years once it is surgically implanted in a woman's upper arm. The implant itself involves six plastic tubes, each about the size of a cardboard matchstick. Each tube releases a hormone called levonorgestrel, which is similar to the progesterone made by a woman's ovaries.

According to Planned Parenthood, Norplant costs between $500 and $750, which can include the medical exam, a pregnancy test, the implants, and the insertion. There is an additional fee of $100 to $200 to remove Norplant.

After it came onto the market, Norplant became the target of lawsuits filed by thousands of women who said the company had downplayed the product's side effects. Last year, Wyeth-Ayerst announced a settlement, covering more than 36,000 women, that comes to about $1,500 per person. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result