Drug standards agency recommends ED drugs for Medicare coverage

October 28, 2004

U.S. Pharmacopeia, hired by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to determine drug coverage, recommended the addition of erectile dysfunction drugs for possible Medicare coverage in 2006.

U.S. Pharmacopeia, hired by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to determine drug coverage, recommended the addition of erectile dysfunction drugs for possible Medicare coverage in 2006.

Medicare spokesperson Peter Ashkenaz said it is too early to tell if the drugs will remain on the U.S. Pharmacopeia recommendation.

"The USP guidelines are not issued as a final rule until details can be worked out," he said.

The list of all recommended drugs are in the draft stage. U.S. Pharmacopeia will submit the final draft at the end of this year, and Medicare will finalize the list in 2005.

Oppoonents say impotence drugs aren't medically warranted and will increase the new drug benefit's cost.

"How much of a priority is covering these types of pharmaceuticals as opposed to other therapeutic interventions?" Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute, an economics group in Washington, told the Associated Press. "I think most experts would put these types of [drugs] fairly far down on the priority list."