Florida Bars Access to Viagra for Sex Offenders

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

Florida has spent $93,000 giving 218 registered sex offenders impotence treatment drugs such as Viagra or Cialis over the last four years.

When we started asking questions Monday morning, the state jumped into action. Twenty four hours later, Jeb Bush promised a quick resolution.

"The interpretation of the law that was made by the federal government gives us some leeway. We are going to go to them and amend our Medicaid plan," says Bush.

A year ago Gov. Jeb Bush recommended the state not spend a dime on erectile dysfunction drugs for any Medicaid patient. The Legislature responded by cutting a drastically to one pill a month.

So why did lawmakers continue to offer the treatment under Medicaid? Sen. Lisa Carlton, who headed the Senate Budget Committee, had little to say.

Sen. Lisa Carlton, (R) Sarasota, says, "I understand that today the governor will be making an announcement on the issue; I’m not going to say anything else."

By early afternoon, 28 hours after our first call, the federal government told Florida and other states it was okay to withhold erectile dysfunction drugs from sex offenders.

Joann Carrin, the attorney general's spokesperson, says, "The letter means that the states, according to the federal government, that states do not have to pay for prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients that the states deem inappropriate."

So now the question state officials need to answers is: did the sex offenders who got the drugs commit new crimes?

Each dose of the sexual enhancement drug costs about $10.50 which means last year, Florida spent $4 million filling 139,000 prescriptions for those drugs.


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