Skip to main content

Amid pandemic, Minnesota Senate votes to make it easier to get erectile dysfunction medicine

The bill would allow male patients to get ED prescriptions via telehealth appointments.

While much of the Legislature's focus this week has been on the coronavirus pandemic, Senators passed a bill on Thursday that authorizes doctors to give prescriptions for erectile dysfunction via virtual visits.

The bill was first proposed by Sens. Jeff Howe (R-Sartell) and Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), with Howe arguing during Thursday's floor vote that the bill is aimed at returning soldiers suffering from PTSD, and said addressing the ED they suffer may help reduce veteran suicides.

After a period of time when lawmakers have been on recess due to the COVID-19 pandemic – returning only to pass coronavirus support bills – Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said that Thursday marked a return to "normal" scheduling, taking up a raft of bills that had been due to pass prior to the outbreak.

Nonetheless, the timing of a Special Order vote on the erectile dysfunction bill, which was first proposed last year, raised some eyebrows from lawmakers including Sen. Jeff Hayden (D-Minneapolis).

While it can be argued that the ED bill has relevance in current COVID-19 times given it relates to telemedicine, which has become increasingly important during coronavirus-related lockdowns, Hayden suggested there are more pressing, pandemic-related issues facing lawmakers right now.

He argued the bill could have formed part of an omnibus bill rather than getting its own debate, and suggested it would be better use of their time to focus on business micro loans and helping communities in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 63-3, with only a few Democrats including Hayden voting against it, but nonetheless a Senate DFL source said that while the party believes all Minnesotans should be able to access the care they need, they would prefer to focus on addressing the health care gaps facing Minnesotans during the ongoing statewide emergency.

This includes COVID-19 treatment coverage for uninsured patients, support for disability service providers, and helping Critical Access Dental providers.

A Senate GOP spokeswoman told BMTN that COVID-19 related bills are still a priority, but the ED bill was already destined for a floor vote prior to the emergency and early recess being declared.

"We're sort of picking up where we left off," she added, noting that expanded telehealth options is also "something that seems relevant given the current situation."

Next Up

storm, severe weather

Threat of severe weather returns to Minnesota for 2 days

Isolated severe storms Wednesday, followed by scattered severe storms Thursday.

ambulance

1 dead, 2 injured in crash at intersection in Ramsey

The crash happened at the intersection of Bunker Lake Blvd. and Sunfish Lake Blvd.

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Keith Harvell

Body pulled from Mississippi River ID'd as missing Elk River man

Keith Harvell had been missing since early last month.

900 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 2021

2 victims identified in double-fatal north Minneapolis shooting

A 21-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were identified as the people who died at the scene this past weekend.

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.

tornado

7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Related

Mayo Belle Plaine

Mayo temporarily closes 5 clinics in southern MN amid COVID surge

The Mayo is reallocating staff to other sites as it deals with the COVID outbreak.

Screen Shot 2020-12-08 at 10.54.41 PM

Health board votes to lift license suspension of bar that is staying open during shutdown

Havens Garden has remained open despite high levels of COVID-19 in the local area.

covid

HealthPartners: COVID hospitalizations driven by unvaccinated, middle aged adults

The health provider says the average age of its hospitalized patients is trending downwards.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

173 MN healthcare workers have COVID-19, most from travel or community

The latest figures were confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health

MN officials frustrated by lack of COVID-19 supplies from federal government

Minnesota is still dealing with a shortage of testing kits and PPE.