Canada

War Amps defend position on Viagra for vets

The head of the War Amps of Canada says Saint John MP Elsie Wayne has misunderstood the group's position on Viagra for veterans. Wayne says Ottawa shouldn't be paying millions of dollars for veterans to get the sexual dysfunction treatment.

Elsie Wayne was astonished after Ottawa announced plans to pay for up to six Viagra pills a month for veterans.

Wayne called the move unbelievable, suggesting men with an average age of 81 didn't need it. She was even more shocked when a reporter asked if it was a quality of life issue. 

"Oh, glory be, for heaven's sakes, no it's not. That isn't important whatsoever," she says.

Wayne says veterans are suffering from far more serious health problems that need funding. But Cliff Chadderton, head of the War Amps, says Wayne missed the point.

Chadderton says amputees often struggle with sexual problems either because the amputation damaged their sexual ability or because the loss of a limb affected their sexual confidence.

Chadderton, an amputee himself, says he uses Viagra and it's a health issue.

"A healthy sex life can enhance the quality of life but also lengthen life expectancy," he says. Chadderton says the announcement is good news for the 800 surviving war amps.

As for people worried about the cost of the program, Chadderton says you need to prove the problem is war-related to get those six pills each month.

"You can go up to six but I don't see many people at 75 or 80 who are going to use their full supply, let's put it that way," he says.

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