US military spends 10 times more on erectile dysfunction medicine than transgender care

The United States Military spends 10 times as much on erectile dysfunction medication as it does on transgender healthcare, half of which is spent on Viagra.

On Thursday US President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military, "in any capacity", due to the financial costs and "disruption" he believes they cause.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military," Mr Trump wrote, without naming any of the generals or experts.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

However, the medical costs don't appear to be as "tremendous" as Mr Trump claims.

A Defense Department-commissioned study, published by the Rand Corporation in 2016, estimates gender transition-related treatment costs the military up to US$8.4 million (NZD$11.1m) annually - only 0.13 percent of the total health care spending.

In contrast, the total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amount to US$84 million (NZD$111m) annually - ten times more.

According to the Military Times analysis, US$41.6 million (NZD$55m) is spent on Viagra alone.

Last year as a presidential candidate Mr Trump vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.