Why is viagra covered and not birth control?

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Mortimer Ondricka asked a question: Why is viagra covered and not birth control?
Asked By: Mortimer Ondricka
Date created: Tue, Jun 29, 2021 8:50 AM
Date updated: Wed, Jul 6, 2022 4:40 PM

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The argument for Viagra coverage is that it's a medical drug that treats a medical condition, whereas contraceptives are considered “lifestyle drugs” that are not medically necessary—though Baker pointed out that many women take oral contraceptives for medical purposes, such as to prevent uterine bleeding.

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The argument for Viagra coverage is that it’s a medical drug that treats a medical condition, whereas contraceptives are considered “lifestyle drugs” that are not medically necessary—though Baker pointed out that many women take oral contraceptives for medical purposes, such as to prevent uterine bleeding.

In keeping with a campaign pledge, the Trump administration announced that any company with “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” can refuse to cover contraception. This means that 55 million American women who currently have access to free birth control risk losing their coverage.

Some people have been saying on social media that it's an illustration of how policies favor men's sexual pleasure over women's health, claiming that Viagra is more accessible than birth control. But a pharmacist told Insider employers aren't generally required to cover Viagra, most insurance companies don't, and out-of-pocket costs for even the generic drug tend to exceed those for birth control.

Attention to insurance coverage of contraceptives has been heightened because of the focus over Viagra, the male impotence bill.

Viagra and birth control should not be used to make a strained analogy between men and women -- these powerful drugs serve two different purposes, and each one has its own unique ethical considerations. Viagra, at a minimum, treats an actual dysfunction, while birth control does not.

The willingness to provide coverage for Viagra but not birth control touched a nerve precisely because it seemed to capture the double standard in our society, said Sherry F. Colb, a professor at Rutgers Law School, according to findlaw.com.

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