Politics

Brazilian Armed Forces hope to stand to attention with Viagra purchase


An opposition representative in Brazil’s lower house took the Defense Ministry to task over an unusual item on the department’s shopping list: 35,000 pills of Viagra, the famed blue pill designed by Pfizer in the late 1990s to fight erectile dysfunction and sexual impotence. 

According to Congressman Elias Vaz – a low-key representative specialized in gathering info on public expenditure — the three branches of the Armed Forces acquired the pills in bidding processes carried out between 2020 and 2021, and are still receiving the medication. The Navy got the lion’s share of almost 28,300 pills. 

The Armed Forces maintains that even though Viagra’s package insert recommends the substance’s use solely for erectile dysfunction, the active substance in Viagra is also known to help pulmonary hypertension — though this use is not officially recommended by Brazil’s health authorities. 

Mr. Vaz’s discovery is just the latest curious finding in a string of odd spending from the Armed Forces in recent years — scandals that have become more apparent during the Bolsonaro government. Last year, Mr. Vaz highlighted that the Army had purchased 714 tons of prime beef, 80,000 bottles of beer, and almost 440 tons of salmon. While this revelation stirred up some controversy in the media and online, the volume of purchases only increased. Data gathered last week indicated that the Army purchased 1,000 tons of steak in 2021.

The Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the Viagra purchase — on previous occasions, the government has said that its shopping list is to meet the needs of members of the military and their families.





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