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[culture] Pharmaceutical Puritans - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2013-01-16 05:42
Subject: [culture] Pharmaceutical Puritans
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, sex
My insurance plan, like many, has multiple tiers of pharmaceutical co-payments. Most of my drugs cost me $10 per prescription filled or refilled. A few cost me $20. Exactly two cost me $50. Those same two drugs are also the only drugs I have ever been prescribed in my life for which my insurance company limits the number of doses I'm allowed per month below what the doctor prescribed.

That would be Viagra and Levitra.

Ever since my colon surgery in May of 2008, I have had persistent erectile dysfunction. The probable root cause is surgical disruption to the vagus nerve. That, and the effect of being in my later 40s with a lot of medical and life stress, has kept me from ever recovering full functionality.

If and when any organ in my body other than my penis malfunctions, insurance covers everything required. I have co-pays and other minor hassles, but my insurance carrier is consistent and supportive. They have unquestioningly paid for drugs that cost $10,000 per dose, as needed in my chemotherapy regimen, with no co-pay at all because they were dispensed in a clinic.

But when I need a drug to help me enjoy the basics of male sexuality, I'm limited to a handful (or less) of pills per month and charged 2.5 to 5 times what every other drug I've ever taken costs me, when I have had a co-pay at all.

Is there any logical reason for this? To my view, this is just the ingrained Puritanism in American culture. Yet another stupid price we pay for the Calvinism in our national DNA. The unwillingness of many people, most of them conservatives, to contribute to the sexual enjoyment of others. Millions for cancer, barely a few cents for a good fuck. I cannot imagine any medical or financial justification for this beyond simple, petty discomfort with human sexuality.

I know perfectly well the sordid history of health insurance and female birth control. I don't expect much sympathy from female readers, who have borne the full cost of their sexual health for decades, until quite recently. But it's really the same problem that conservatives so ardently and wrongly tried to smear Sandra Fluke with: people don't want to think they are paying for other people to have sex.

You know what? I'm just as entitled to sexual health and well being as I am to any other form of health and well being. This is really a minor issue in the symphony of horror which is my cancer experience, but it's a damned annoying one. The medication restrictions on sexually related drugs are just petty, and serve no purpose other than to make some people, somewhere, feel good about punishing me for having a libido and opportunities to exercise it.

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User: radiantlisa
Date: 2013-01-16 13:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fuck cancer?
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rekre8
User: rekre8
Date: 2013-01-16 18:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2013-01-16 14:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I feel for you: I have the same problem and they don't work for me.

As for Sandra Fluke, I don't know about other conservatives but what bothered me was that she expected other people to pay for her contraceptives, and contraceptives are dirt-cheap. And she was costing them on the basis of using them once per day, which is a rather ridiculous expectation for college unless she was engaging in an, ahem, alternative means of funding her education. And in that case, she would have no difficulty paying for the contraceptives!
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-01-16 14:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
hat bothered me was that she expected other people to pay for her contraceptives

That is the explicit conservative lie that has become so pervasive. What Sandra Fluke wanted was access to contraceptives through the health insurance plan for which she was paying premiums. Go look it up.
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MG Ellington
User: xjenavivex
Date: 2013-01-16 14:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The availablity of that medicine at an affordable cost is important to this female reader. It directly effects my husband, but it effects us both really.
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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2013-01-16 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It brings your husband into existence?

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fledgist
User: fledgist
Date: 2013-01-16 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sex is considered an optional extra, not a necessary part of the good life. There's something wrong with that.
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barbarienne
User: barbarienne
Date: 2013-01-16 16:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I guess the theory is that being celibate technically won't kill you.

Maybe our health care industry needs to consider that "quality of life" is a reasonable thing to provide as well. They try very hard to avoid that in as many circumstances as possible (not just sex).

And while "gets to have an erection" may or may not be considered necessary for a quality of life, there is often another person(s) involved, and that relationship almost certainly is necessary to the ailing person's quality of life and psychological well-being, and their continued presence can improve the ailing person's outcome significantly.

Sigh. So few people understand long-term effects and benefits.
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dionysus1999
User: dionysus1999
Date: 2013-01-16 17:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sexual health therapy is frequently not covered by insurances either, not "medically necessary".
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2013-01-17 01:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This is not unique to the US health insurance industry.

Here in Scotland[*], drugs for erectile dysfunction are only available with NHS funding for a very limited number of conditions, most of them involving severe post-surgical damage. Got ED because of a minor adverse drug reaction for something like hypertension? You'll have to pay for a private prescription.

The ostensible justification is that Viagra, Cialis, etc are horrendously expensive and We Can't Afford It. The truth is, they're not that expensive compared to various chemotherapy or other treatments that are nodded through on the public purse -- it's just terror of the media backlash if they allowed them to be provided free at the point of delivery like other medical services.



[*] I'm in Detroit right now, but I live in Scotland
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Steve Green: Outlaws
User: stevegreen
Date: 2013-01-17 03:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Outlaws
Ann used to complain that tampons attract Value Added Tax, as though they were a luxury item rather than a necessity.
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seventorches
User: seventorches
Date: 2013-01-17 04:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
On a related note, Food stamps (SNAP or whatever they're called now) won't pay for any feminine supplies,

Do Maxi-pads attract the VAT? Because if not, then at least they can make the argument that Tampons have the luxury of convenience, small size, comfort, etc. vs basically wearing a thong diaper.
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Button: button in scotland
User: supersniffles
Date: 2013-01-17 08:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:button in scotland
I understand your pain. My anti-depressants caused me to lose the ability to orgasm for several months. In my normal life, I soothe myself to sleep nearly nightly by self pleasuring. Having that suddenly taken away did not significantly lessen my depression. My doctor prescribed an ED pill, (There hasn't been a lot of research, but there is some evidence that increasing the blood flow to the area helps both sexes 'achieve'.) He gave me some samples and my 'completion' rate went from about 5% to about 60%. And then the samples ran out, and my insurance company will *NOT* cover them, because I don't have a penis. They cost $32 a pill. $16 if I was able to get there on a half pill!
(Luckily for me, I did eventually find a solution. After taking the pills for a few months, I found a 2-3 hour window, as yesterday's pill was wearing off and before today's pill kicked in, where I could come.)
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Amanda
User: cissa
Date: 2013-01-18 05:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Viagra et al. are covered far more than contraceptives and medical abortions. Even if you do not get as many pills as you would like- you are still getting more support than women are for your sex life as compared to hers.

Yes, that sucks all around.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-01-18 13:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Aren't female contraceptives now covered under the ACA? As I mentioned in the post itself, I'm familiar with the sordid pre-ACA record of coverage in that regard.
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