GM keeps it up
DETROIT — The little blue pill is leaving General Motors Corp. with a very large bill.
The world's largest automaker, which lost $10.6 billion last year, is shelling out $17 million annually for impotence drugs such as Viagra and Cialis, said GM spokeswoman Sharon Baldwin. While the so-called "lifestyle drugs" make up a small fraction of GM's overall health care costs — now hovering at $5.6 billion each year, or about $1,500 of every vehicle it builds — company executives often use the example to illustrate how out-of-control health care costs have become in America.
GM, which provides health care for 1.1 million employees, retirees and dependents, is the world's largest private purchaser of Viagra, the popular erectile dysfunction drug produced by Pfizer Inc., whose sales reached $1.65 billion last year. The pill is covered under GM's labor agreement with United Auto Workers, as well as benefit plans for salaried workers.
Ford Motor Co. declined to say how much it spends on erectile dysfunction drugs, and a Chrysler spokesman could not provide figures.
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