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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Jan;89(1):17-9. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2010.179.

Where cost, medical necessity, and morality meet: should US government insurance programs pay for erectile dysfunction drugs?

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  • 1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Spending for the three most popular phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor drugs to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) tops $1 billion worldwide annually. Using Medicaid and Medicare Part D as examples, we explore here whether US government insurance programs with limited budgets should reimburse for this class of ED drugs and review the common bases for justifying and denying reimbursement. We conclude that the clinical usefulness and costs of such drugs should be the primary drivers of coverage decisions, not moral attitudes toward sexual performance.

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