Health Tips You won't believe how much the U.S. Military spends each year on Viagra

​The surprising information was dug up in the wake of President Trump's latest controversy.

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By now, you’ve probably heard about President Donald Trump’s tweets that claim medical care for transgender troops would put a “tremendous burden” on the military and the subsequent outrage that’s come from the public as a result.

But there’s some surprising side information that’s come out of this: The U.S. military spends a lot of money each year on erectile dysfunction meds.

The Washington Post crunched some numbers and found that the highest estimated cost of medical care for transgender troops would be $8.4 million a year. Here’s the thing: That’s about 20 percent of what the military spends on Viagra, which, by the way, is $41.6 million. Of course, Viagra isn’t the only ED medication out there. If you total up all of the prescriptions written for ED for U.S. troops, you’re looking at $84.24 million spent on the condition by the government.

That number comes courtesy of a 2015 Military Timesarticle, which analyzed data from the Department of Defense and found that since 2011, the military has spent a whopping $294 million picking up the tab for drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. (That’s the equivalent of nearly four U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, they helpfully point out.)

USA Today cites data from the Defense Health Agency that found that military beneficiaries—which include active-duty personnel, veterans, and eligible family members—filled nearly 1.18 million prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medications through the Department of Defense’s system in 2014. More than 900,000 of those prescriptions were for Viagra, nearly 186,000 were for Cialis, and about 1,700 were for Revatio.

It can be hard to put those numbers into context, but it’s worth pointing out that 8 million prescriptions were written for Viagra in 2012, per CNN. That’s just for Viagra and it uses numbers from two years before the DoD data, but it seems that the U.S. military provides a solid chunk of business to the ED market.

Of course, it’s important to point out that ED is a serious condition and it can dramatically impact a person’s life—that’s why these medications are used so often. According to USA Today, the rate of ED among active-duty military personnel more than doubled from 2004 to 2014 and more than half of the cases were classified as “psychogenic,” i.e. the ED was related to something psychiatric vs. a physical cause. (ED has many potential causes, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, illness, and aging.)

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