Viagra is one of the most well-known medications for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Other drugs have been approved to treat the condition, but Viagra holds strong as the cornerstone of medical treatment of ED. More than 10 years have passed since the drug hit the market and now researchers are looking into whether or not the drug is a cost-effective option. 

An article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine claims more than 750,000 doctors have prescribed Viagra to patients. In all, about 23 million men have taken the drug for the treatment of mild to severe ED. Researchers searched for studies completed on Viagra from 2001 to 2011 using Embase and Medline. Twelve studies associated with the economic impact of Viagra have been reported during that decade. 

Patients are willing to pay for Viagra more than other treatments or prosthetic devices. The willingness to pay is particularly noticeable among patients with health factors contributing to ED. However, a willingness to pay does not address an ability to pay. 

Some patients suffering from ED have medical insurance that does not cover drugs like Viagra. I remember visiting my family physician for my yearly check-up about five years ago. I was highly stressed at work and I was having trouble turning off my daily stresses in the bedroom. This resulted in a short-lived case of ED. I asked my doctor about Viagra and other medications and he offered me a sample and prescription for the drug. Because a note about my question was placed on my medical record, my insurance company refused to pay for the doctor’s visit. 

Viagra is an effective, trusted medication that men can turn to when fighting ED, but the cost of the drug is not as easy to bear for all men. While researchers clearly found evidence supporting cost-effectiveness in the drug’s history, there is still work to be done for the many men out there suffering from ED but without the means to seek medical help for the condition. 

Source: Martin AL, Huelin R, Wilson D, Foster TS, Mould JF. A Systematic Review Assessing the Economic Impact of Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra(®) ) in the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction. J Sex Med. 2013 Jan 24. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12068.

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