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CVS will no longer cover Viagra

Discount retail chain CVS will no longer include Pfizer's Viagra in its list of drug insurance benefits, CNBC confirmed on Wednesday. (Tweet This)

Viagra, a well-known erectile dysfunction medication, is one of 26 drugs being removed from the 2016 standard formulary, the company said.

"I want to make sure it is clear that this does not impact availability of the drug in our CVS/pharmacy stores, it is related to our standard formulary for those payors whose pharmacy benefits we manage as their PBM through CVS/Caremark," said Christine Cramer, a CVS spokesperson in an email to CNBC.

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The company said it will begin contacting members and physicians about the move in the early fall.

"As always, clinical acceptability of the drugs included in the standard formulary is among our primary considerations, enabling us to continue to provide plan members with access to high-quality products within all covered classes of drugs," Cramer said. "For those drugs that are removed, equally effective products with lower overall costs remain available on the formulary."

The news originally was reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday. According to that report, CVS customers can still get coverage for Eli Lilly's Cialis ED drug starting Jan. 1.

Shares of CVS were up around 0.8 percent in midday trade on Wednesday. (Get the latest quote here.)

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In the company's quarterly conference call on Tuesday, CVS announced its overall strategy, which includes 26 additional products being removed from the 2016 standard formulary. According to the call, this plan would "maintain clinical integrity, reducing pharmacy costs for plan sponsors and effectively transitioning members onto the formulary."

Pfizer sent the following statement to CNBC in an email:

Pfizer is committed to ensuring patient access to our medicines. The company has a long-standing relationship with CVS Health and its Pharmacy Benefit Management company, Caremark. Many of our medicines are available through its formularies. Viagra continues to be available to millions of patients in the marketplace, including many patients whose pharmacy benefit is managed by Caremark.

A CVS competitor, Express Scripts, told CNBC on Wednesday afternoon that it was able to negotiate pricing on both Cialis and Viagra for its 2016 National Preferred Formulary.

"When developing a formulary, our top preference is always to achieve BOTH access and affordability," Express Scripts said, in a statement. "Even when there are clinically equivalent drugs on the market, Express Scripts will only exclude one if that exclusion would result in significant cost savings for our clients and patients."

Erectile dysfunction drugs make up about 0.3 percent of all prescriptions, Express Scripts noted, adding that that Cialis and Viagra make up more than 90 percent of the market.

—CNBC's Bertha Coombs contributed.