Double standard

Health insurers not covering female libido drug


The libido drug Addyi, commonly referred to as the “female Viagra,” has had a rough go of things since hitting the market late last year. Early reports indicated that the drug’s sales were abysmal, and now it seems it’s struggling to get equal treatment with its counterpart. Health insurance companies appear to be applying a double standard to Viagra and Addyi, and that unequal treatment of the drug is really just unequal treatment for the women out there who need Addyi’s benefits. CNN talked to a 38-year-old woman who ran smack into the double standard. The woman, who declined to give her name, said her boyfriend was able to obtain a prescription for Viagra and his insurance company covered the costs with no questions asked. But when her own sexual issues arose, her insurance company, Blue Shield of California, demanded that she first see a psychiatrist before it would cover her Addyi costs. Experts say this is one of the “barriers” insurance companies are putting up to avoid having to pay for women’s libido drug.

It turns out, there are a couple of other barriers health insurers are trying, as the woman CNN spoke to learned when she inquire with her provider. Many times, before a health insurance provider will cover Addyi, they first require women to try a cheaper drug — one that’s not even approved to treat sexual dysfunction. The woman was stymied once more by Blue Shield, in what is another common strategy insurers use to dodge Addyi. The company told her that since she was already taking a prescription for an antidepressant, she was disqualified under its plan for Addyi coverage. So, CNN got in touch with Blue Shield to investigate what was going on — and they got some answers, but they’re not necessarily good ones.

Read the full story at CNN.

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