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Is Viagra Government Funded? Facts Behind Viral Sign Claiming ED Drug Subsidized

A photo of a protest sign held by a demonstrator in Los Angeles for International Women’s Day earlier this week quickly went viral, not only for its message, but for its curious claim that Viagra is government funded — to the tune of $41.6 million.

But is the claim true? Does the United States government really subsidize the popular erectile dysfunction medication, and at multimillion dollar levels?

The intention of the sign, held by a woman who identified herself on her Twitter account as “Ling Ling,” was “to point out the hypocrisy of a majority male congress voting to fund Viagra (male reproductive rights) and not female reproductive rights (i.e. birth control, Planned Parenthood). My stance is, either fund both or none at all,” the woman wrote.

The full text of the sign reads, “Viagra is gov’t funded ($41.6 mil/yr). If pregnancy is God’s will, so is limp d**k.”

See the whole sign by clicking on this link.

While the message appears to be a clever way to point out the “hypocrisy” noted by “Ling Ling,” the sign is somewhat misleading, factually speaking. Here’s the truth behind the claim that Viagra is funded by the U.S. government.

While it is technically true that the U.S. government funds Viagra, and other erectile dysfunction medications — in fact, the $41.6 million figure cited on the sign is significantly lower than the total amount of taxpayer funds spent on ED medications — the government funding comes entirely through the Department of Defense, and is spent as part of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) budget to purchase Viagra and other popular medications for erectile dysfunction for retired military veterans, as well as active-duty service members, according to a report on the Viagra funding by the Military Times.

The DHA also covers birth control medications and treatments for active and retired service members, according to listings on the website for Tricare, the managed health care service for members of the military and veterans.

Through Tricare, the DHA pays for prescription birth control pills, including Plan B, the so-called “morning after pill,” as well as intrauterine devices (IUDs), birth control diaphragms, and surgical sterilization procedures.

But the DHA also pays for ED medicines, including not only Viagra, but other popular prescription drugs for the same condition, including Cialis and Levitra.

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The Departmenty of Defense spent $41.6 million on Viagra for military personnel in 2014. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images )

The $41.6 million cited on Ling Ling’s sign refers only to the amount spent to cover Viagra prescriptions for active and retired service members in 2014. But the DHA also spent $42.64 million on other erectile dysfunction drugs, according to a CBS News report.

In fact, since 2011, the Defense Department has poured $294 million into covering erectile dysfunction medications for members of the military and their eligible family members.

Why is so much money spent to correct erectile dysfunction for members of the U.S. military? First, of course, ED medications are expensive. Prices vary among the various brands, but for the most part, men who require ED meds can expect to pay at least $50 for a single dose of Viagra, or any of the other brand-name pills, which are often not covered by insurance.


MORE VIAGRA COVERAGE FROM THE INQUISITR:
Viagra Vs. Sildenafil: The Truth About Generic Viagra, And How To Buy It Legally
Flibanserin, Or ‘Female Viagra,’ Isn’t Getting Anyone Hot And Bothered
13-Year-Old Viagra Addict Speaks Out, Popped Six Pills A Night At Height Of His Addiction
Kentucky Lawmaker Proposes Bill Requiring Men To Get Permission From Their Wives To Buy Viagra
S.C. Bill Would Make It As Hard For Men To Get Viagra As It Is For Women To Get Abortions
Man Takes 35 Viagra Pills, Suffers 5 Days Of ‘No Use’ Erections: Describes His Ordeal
CVS Drops Viagra, And Nobody Seems To Know Why


But members of the military may face issues likely to cause erectile dysfunction not experienced as widely by members of the general public. Those would include severe injuries, as well as acute psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by exposure to violent combat.

[Featured Image By Chris Hondros/Getty Images]

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