Viagra subsidies: State pulls out

Drugs used to treat male erectile dysfunction will not be subsidized by the state, Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Friday.

Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Bayer Schering Pharma slammed the ruling, arguing that half a million Swedish men would be affected by the decision not to subsidize drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

In its ruling the court overturned a four year old decision by the County Administrative Court to help cover the costs of Viagra and Cialis for patients suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes, both of which often lead to problems with impotence.

“The verdict is deeply unjust for many Swedish men and their partners who suffer as a result of impotence,” said Margareta Nilsson, chairwoman of the Swedish Diabetes Association, in a statement.

“The decision means that this will become a class issue as those affected will have to finance their own treatment in order to have a functioning sex life,” she added.

The Supreme Administrative Court said in its ruling that the lack of specialist physicians in many parts of the country made it difficult to make a diagnosis. As such, there was a clear risk that a disproportionate number of patients would be prescribed with the drugs.