Volume 93, Issue 55

Tuesday, December 7, 1999


McMaster TAs hit the picket lines

HIV virus linked to smallpox

Remembering the Montreal Massacre

Staff prepares for Y2K problems on campus

Nipissing helps keep faculty and staff standing tall

Streaker still strutting his stuff

Nipissing helps keep faculty and staff standing tall

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Although shrinkage may still impede some male employees at Nipissing University, they will never again suffer another cold North Bay winter because they can't get it up.

Marjie Smith, communications officer at Nipissing, said the university's Board passed a motion last Thursday to put Viagra, the anti-impotency drug, in the basket of prescriptions included in the institution's employee group benefits package.

The motion came after a year long study by the school's pensions and benefits committee, said Connie VanderWall, director of human resources and committee leader.

"We looked around at a number of public and private companies and saw they included [Viagra] in their plans for employees," she said, adding the inclusion of the drug is also on par to what a number of other Ontario universities have done.

While she said a number of members of the committee had trouble looking past the performance enhancing ability of the popular drug, VanderWall added its intent is strictly clinical. "It was added for the purpose of meeting medical needs. Erectile dysfunction is a serious medical problem," she said.

VanderWall said the plan will cover up to $1,200 worth of Viagra pills per person, per annum. The drug will be reviewed annually to assess its use and need.

VanderWall added she is not concerned the school's staff will exploit the program.

Pharmaceutical technician Colleen Johnson, who works at Western's on-campus pharmacy, said Viagra costs approximately $16 per pill.

Roman Brozowski, president of Nipissing's Faculty Association, said he is very disappointed the medication has been put on the coverage list. Brozowski said the school has recently cut back on coverage in a number of other areas for the sake of minimizing premiums, yet justified the inclusion of Viagra which will only benefit a few. "[Viagra's] not like dental care, where everyone needs it," he said.

Brozowski said he was angry about the lack of input on the matter, adding a number of the members of the committee had not voted either for or against the drug's inclusion.

"I don't think everybody supported it," he said. "I don't think there was a wide enough consultation process."

Keith Gee, Western's director of pensions and benefits, said Viagra is not presently part of the plan provided to Western's staff and faculty. "We have received a couple of inquires," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999