Gender Discrimination within the Reproductive Health Care System: Viagra v. Birth Control
This Article begins with an examination of the prescription drug, Viagra and the medical condition it is intended to aid. Additionally, this Article evaluates the five most common, and FDA approved forms of contraceptives: contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices (IUD's), Depo-Provera shots, Norplant inserts and diaphragms. A basic understanding of the above prescriptions is necessary to determine if health care inequity exists between men and women in the area of prescriptive coverage, or if there is such a difference between the medical conditions involved that insurance companies are justified in excluding contraceptive coverage while including Viagra coverage. Part III of this Article analyzes whether health care inequity truly exists by comparing the intended use of Viagra with the intended use of contraceptives. Next, this Article will compare and contract the medical necessity of Viagra with the medical necessity of contraceptives. Additionally, this Article provides a basic cost-benefit analysis in the event that insurance companies were required to provide prescriptive coverage of all five FDA approved methods of birth control. In addition to the most obvious arguments regarding equity in prescription coverage, this Article addresses the public policy arguments supporting legislative action mandating contraceptive coverage by insurance carriers. Finally, this Article reviews recent state legislation regarding contraceptive coverage and identifies the reasons why federal legislation is necessary to rectify inequity in health care coverage between men and women.
Lisa A. Hayden, Gender Discrimination within the Reproductive Health Care System: Viagra v. Birth Control, 13 J.L. & Health 171 (1998-1999)