Physicians claim there’s a double standard between men and women and sexual problems
According to doctors, insurance will pay for older male patients to use testosterone to increase the performance of their sex lives. However, when women need treatment for vaginal dryness and atrophy, insurance companies refuse to pony up the help.
Some experts disagree, claiming that insurance companies will cover the costs of these treatments. However, many gynecologists say there’s a plethora of evidence of women being denied treatment for these drugs.
Dr. Laura Hirshbein, a University of Michigan associate professor of psychiatry, said she’s not surprised insurance companies refuse to pay for female sexual dysfunction drugs. Hirshbein said men who suffer from erectile dysfunction have an array of treatment options at their disposal. She said men are expected to sexually perform, and they can get what they need in order to do this.
In the past, women are thought to be mentally ill if they suffered from sexual dysfunction.
In one instance, a gynecologist wrote her patient a prescription for Addyi, and when she went to pick it up, she was told that her prescription wasn’t covered by the insurance but that she could pay $1,000 for it. The lady left the pharmacy without the prescription.
According to the woman’s insurance company Blue Shield, a committee of external doctors and pharmacists look over the medical evidence on prescription medication to come up with the insurance’s coverage policy. The Blue Shield representative said the committee noted that a psychiatrist was best in diagnosing Hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
Gynecologists don’t agree and said it should be doctors, not psychiatrists, to identify and treat female sexual disorder. One gynecologist said she’s better equipped to recognize the symptoms of female sexual disorder and prescribe a treatment for it.
Hirshbein echoed those sentiments, saying she’d rather not prescribe Addyi like she wouldn’t prescribe Viagra.
According to Blue Shield, there are some safety issues with the drug, which include negatively affecting the central nervous system, low blood pressure, and fainting when used with other drugs. Another drug, known as Wellbutrin, has its own set of warnings such as the development of serious neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Some gynecologist finds this a real issue since Wellbutrin isn’t FDA approved to treat sexual dysfunction.
The patient who was first rejected from Blue Shield because her medication didn’t come from a psychiatrist tried again, only to find out it was denied was once. The reason? They needed more documentation from the psychiatrist saying she really needed it.
According to this patient, her boyfriend can function without Viagra, but uses it in the hopes to make her happy. The problem, she said, isn’t with him, it’s her. But, he can get the prescription without jumping through hoops. She’s hoping that her libido will increase because she’s afraid the relationship won’t last if something doesn’t improve with her sex drive soon.