Sexist Insurance Companies Will Pay For Viagra, But Not For 'Female Viagra'

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Michelle Weber was in for a rude awakening when she found out she couldn't get her insurance company to pay for female Viagra.

Her boyfriend has never had a problem getting Viagra for his sexual problems. But Weber -- who asked CNN to change her name for privacy reasons -- was denied Addyi, the female version of the drug and even told she had to see a psychiatrist first before thinking about getting it for free.

Dr. Tami Rowen, Weber's gynecologist, points out the obvious when it comes to insurance companies, "It's a huge double standard."

Blue Shield, Weber's insurance company, claimed in a letter received by her that it wouldn't cover her for Addyi because she had a low libido as a side effect of a medicine she was taking. The company also refuses to cover Addyi for women unless they are willing to try another less expensive drug first because Addyi has the potential of certain side effects.

Apparently, the drug has what's called a "black box warning" because it has quite serious safety concerns. The warning notes that Addyi can lead to increased risk of fainting and low blood pressure if it's mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

According to senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, it isn't just Viagra that women have a problem accessing. She states:

...insurance typically pays for their older male patients to take testosterone to boost their sagging sex lives. But when older women want treatments for vaginal dryness and atrophy, insurance companies usually balk.

So even though Addyi is FDA-approved, women can't get their hands on it without going through ridiculous hurdles. What's the point of even having it on the market? For Weber, the inaccessibility of the drug is cause for concern because it throws a wrench not only in her sex life, but in her future plans.

"We're thinking about getting married," she says about her boyfriend. "It's really serious. But a big piece of it isn't working and that's hard for both of us."

Citations: Insurance won't pay for women to have pleasurable sex (CNN)