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Erectile Dysfunction Drug Amendment Passage Puts Lives at Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

Lumping thousands of victims of crippling diseases in with those who abuse the system, Congress passed a ban of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for erectile dysfunction drugs today.

"Erectile dysfunction drugs are not 'lifestyle' drugs to prostate cancer patients," said National Prostate Cancer Coalition CEO Richard N. Atkins, M.D. "Men already have a great reluctance when it comes to paying attention to their health, significantly downsizing access to the opportunity to fight side-effects of life-saving treatments gives them another excuse."

U.S. Representative Steve King (IA-05) proposed an amendment to ban funding of erectile dysfunction drugs as part of the Department of Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education Appropriations Act of 2006. The amendment passed the House today, 285-121.

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"If a patient is faced with the risk of impotence due to treatment from prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction drugs are not covered, he may decide for less than optimal cancer treatment or choose nothing at all," said Atkins.

A University of Chicago study shows that when comparing treatment options, 68 percent of men were willing to trade off a 10 percent or greater advantage in five-year survival rates to maintain sexual potency. Many prostate cancer patients grapple with impotence, a University of Washington study revealed earlier this year that 89 percent of men could not achieve an erection six months after prostate cancer surgery.

"Representative King's snap judgment of the situation may cause more pain and suffering due to disease and cost the government more money through lengthy and expensive treatments of late-stage disease," said Atkins.


About the National Prostate Cancer Coalition

The National Prostate Cancer Coalition sets the standard for rapidly reducing the burden of prostate cancer on American men and their families through awareness, outreach and advocacy.

Source: National Prostate Cancer Coalition. CONTACT: Jamie Bearse of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, +1-202-303-3105, Cell: +1-202-744-2503