An Immoderate Proposal
I have a moral objection to paying for any kind of erectile dysfunction medicine in the new health reform bill and I think men who want to use it should just pay for it out of pocket. After all, I won't ever need such a pill. And anyway, it's no biggie. Just because most of them can get it under their insurance today doesn't mean they shouldn't have it stripped from their coverage in the future because of my moral objections. (I don't think there's even been a Supreme Court ruling making wood a constitutional right. I might be wrong about that.)
Many of the men who are prescribed this medication are on Medicare, so I think it should be stripped out of that coverage as well. And unlike the payments for abortion, which actually lower overall medical costs (pregnancy obviously costs much, much more) banning tax dollars from covering any kind of Viagra would result in a substantial savings:
The price of Pfizer’s Viagra has doubledsince it was launched, according to a list of wholesale acquisition costs paid by pharmacies, obtained by BNET. In May 1999, a 100-count bottle of the blue diamonds cost $700. Today, that same bottle costs $1,457.61, a 108 percent increase, according to the list: I don't want my tax dollars touching even one milimeter of that overly engorged expense.
(Click to enlarge.)
The blog of online pharmacy AccessRx notes that Pfizer has also been extracting more frequent price rises in addition to higher price rises:
… we’re not sure if you’ve been tracking price increases recently, but Pfizer began to raise the cost of Viagra twice a year instead of once a year in 2007. Including the last six price increases since Jan. 1, 2007, the price of Viagra has gone up 45.5%.
The WAC list indicates that while Pfizer was initially content to take price increases of 3 percent per year, in 2003 it doubled that increase. In January 2009, Pfizer bumped it up to 11 percent. Then in August it took another 5 percent.
It’s an astonishing example of pricing power, given that Viagra is in direct competition with Eli Lilly’s Cialis and Bayer’s Levitra. The heat from Cialis is particularly severe: Cialis sales in the U.S. were up 16 percent to $149.4 million in Q2; Pfizer’s Viagra was up only 4 percent at $207 million.
I realize that many people disagree with my moral objections to men getting erections which God clearly doesn't want them to get, but my principles on this are more important to me than theirs are to them. So too bad. If you want a boner, pay for it yourself.
And I think those noxious advertisements for the drugs should be banned as well, if only for aesthetic reasons. Having to watch my baby boomer fellows wail "Viva Viagra" is offensive to anyone who has any taste in music.