Letter: Viagra values

Sir: I find the tone of the debate over Viagra very disturbing. In most NHS regions there is no funding of IVF treatment for infertile couples because the drugs and treatment are deemed to be too expensive.

We are told firmly that hip replacements and the like must come first since no one has ever died of infertility. So infertile couples must fund their own treatment and the costs run into thousands of pounds. The lack of funding for infertility treatment is almost a stamp of disapproval from society on the care and help that infertile couples need.

Just as no one has ever died of infertility, no one has ever died of impotence. So why is the debate focused on the potential cost of Viagra to the NHS, rather than questioning whether this drug should be funded at all?

Is it because infertility is (mistakenly) seen as a "women's issue" whereas impotence is most definitely a male issue and a very sensitive one which is worth addressing?

Or does it reflect the values of a society where more importance is placed on the need to "get it up" rather than the need to nurture a child?

CHRISTINE HARDISTY

Swindon

Wiltshire

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