Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bah Humbug, Viagra!

Bah humbug, Viagra! When there is actually something equally marketed to women for sexual needs/medical conditions, I will stop saying bah humbug to Viagra for men. I have issues with how insurance companies will readily cover Viagra for men while they don't cover birth control pills. I also have issues with how Viagra is marketed in this country.

This is a small step for womankind. At least a man is doing this small action which hopefully will help make ripples. We shall see about that. At least Schwarzenegger finally did something that made sense to the rest of the country that the majority or at least Democrats could agree with. I have STRONG opinions about Schwarzenegger's performance as a governor and politican which I am not going to start getting into here. I don't need to get worked up before going to bed.

As for Viagra's availability to prisoners (which I think is not necessary or a privilege) ... what's next, free penis pumps and treatment for early male baldness? If you committed a crime and earned your punishment in prison, let it be true punishment and seek "treatment" upon release, if you are not a parolee or sex offender. Otherwise, deal with the facts of life that penises can and do go limp, hair loss comes with age and so on. Deal with it, but not at taxpayers' expense or compromise in public safety.

S



Schwarzenegger Says No Viagra for Sex Offenders
By Adam Tanner, Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (May 27) - Expressing outrage that California may have funded anti-impotence drugs for sex offenders, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for new rules Thursday to ban such treatments in the future.

"Requiring that convicted sex offenders be provided Viagra for sexual dysfunction, paid for by the taxpayers, is one of the worst policies ever developed by the politicians in Washington," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

It is not clear if California's Medi-Cal system for low income residents actually ever provided sex offenders drugs such as Levitra, Cialis or Pfizer's Viagra, said Nicole Kasabian Evans, spokeswoman for California's Health and Human Services Agency.

The spokeswoman said of 6 million Californians receiving Medi-Cal benefits last year, only 5,800 met the strict criterion to qualify for erectile dysfunction medication.

"We don't have access to that information right now," she said when asked if sex offenders were among those 5,800. "We have to get the law changed" to get such data.

The issue made headlines after an audit in New York State discovered it had provided Viagra to nearly 200 sex offenders in recent years. Florida officials said the state had also given some sex offenders such medication.

On Monday, the U.S. agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid programs wrote to state officials warning of sanctions if they did not implement controls against giving such erectile dysfunction drugs to sex offenders such as rapists.

"The use of these drugs in the case of a sex offender is not appropriate and Medicaid should not pay for the cost of such drugs in such circumstances," wrote Dennis Smith, who heads the Center for Medicaid and State Operations for the Department of Health & Human Services.

Schwarzenegger's directive calls for his state agencies to cut off such medication until related legislation is passed.

"Today I am directing all of my agency secretaries to take the necessary steps to stop this dangerous practice in California," the former bodybuilder and actor said. "Our first responsibility is to keep our citizens safe, and providing these drugs to known sex offenders is a policy that only threatens more innocent people."

Earlier this week in Washington, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, also introduced federal legislation barring federal money from being spent on Viagra and other drugs for enhancing sexual performance.

Eli Lilly & Co. and Icos Corp. sell Cialis. Levitra is sold by Bayer AG and GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Schering-Plough Corp. took over U.S. marketing rights for Levitra from Bayer last year.


05/26/05 19:24 ET

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited