Viagra over the counter: Impotence drug for sale without prescription after counterfeit boom
- Men seeking Viagra will no longer need to get a prescription from their GP
- They'll be able to go to a pharmacist who will assess if the pills as safe for them
- The move comes after the drug watchdog reclassified the medication
- Pfizer announced it plans to get stocks into UK pharmacies by spring 2018
- Wider availability may help ED sufferers who might not feel able to visit their GP
- Hoped the move will also help steer people away from illegal drugs websites
Men seeking Viagra will no longer need a prescription from their GP after health officials reclassified the drug.
For the first time, they will instead be able to buy it over the counter at chemists, as long as a pharmacist approves the little blue pills as safe for them to use.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that it is reclassifying Viagra Connect tablets following a public consultation.
Manufacturer Pfizer plans to get stocks of the medication into UK pharmacies by spring 2018.??
Experts say making the tablets more widely available will help sufferers of erectile dysfunction (ED) who might not feel able to visit their GP.
Officials hope the move will also help steer people away from buying drugs from websites operating illegally and selling unlicensed or counterfeit impotency medicines.?
Manufacturer Pfizer plans to get stocks of the medication into UK pharmacies by spring 2018 (stock image)
Pharmacists will be able to determine whether treatment is appropriate for the patient and can give advice on ED, usage of the medicine, potential side effects and assess if further consultation with a GP is required.
But some men, including those with severe heart problems, those at high risk of heart problems, liver failure, kidney failure or those taking certain 'interacting medicines', will still need to be prescribed the drug under the supervision of a doctor.
Tackling counterfeit drugs?
Officials hope the move will also help steer people away from buying drugs websites operating illegally.
The MHRA said that ED medicines are a 'popular target' for criminals selling unlicensed and counterfeit medicines.
Over the past five years the agency has seized more than ￡50 million of unlicensed and counterfeit impotency medicines.
Viagra Connect will be made more widely accessible which experts say will encourage men with ED (stock image)
'This decision is good news for men's health,' said Mick Foy, MHRA's group manager in vigilance and risk management of medicines.
'The move to make Viagra Connect more widely accessible will encourage men to seek help within the healthcare system and increase awareness of erectile dysfunction.
'Erectile dysfunction can be a debilitating condition, so it's important men feel they have fast access to quality and legitimate care, and do not feel they need to turn to counterfeit online supplies which could have potentially serious side effects.'
Protecting men's health?
Manufacturer Pfizer said Viagra Connect – which contains the ingredient sildenafil at 50mg – said the move should protect men by limiting the likelihood of them turning to dodgy websites.
UK medical director Dr Berkeley Phillips said: 'The availability of Viagra Connect in pharmacies from next year will offer men who are eligible for the product a new and convenient way to access sildenafil, a commonly prescribed treatment for erectile dysfunction.
'We understand some men may avoid seeking support and treatment for this condition, so we believe giving them the option to talk to a pharmacist and buy Viagra Connect could be a real step forward in encouraging more men into the healthcare system.
'As erectile dysfunction may be a sign of an underlying condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, there could also be a wider benefit to public health in the long term.
'We hope that this forthcoming new opportunity to purchase a genuine treatment via pharmacy will also reduce the likelihood of men turning to potentially ineffective and dangerous counterfeits from illicit sources.'
GENERIC VERSION OF 'WEEKEND' ED DRUG CIALIS COULD BE AVAILABLE ON NHS
The cost of an erectile dysfunction pill that lasts up to eight times longer than Viagra has been slashed by half – and could soon be available on prescription on the NHS.
A generic version of Cialis has launched in the UK after the brand's patent ran out, opening up the market for cheaper versions.
Tadalafil allows you to achieve erections for up to 36 hours after taking a tablet
As a result, the price of the medication, which has the active ingredient tadalafil, has fallen from ￡7.22 per tablet to between ￡2 to ￡4 per tablet.
Most major online and high street pharmacies – including Superdrug, LloydsPharmacy and Boots – are set to stock the generic tablets this month.
Branded drugs such as Cialis and Viagra are not widely available for impotency sufferers on the NHS, except in certain circumstances.
But they may be able to get the generic version of tadalafil – nicknamed the 'weekend pill' for its longer half life – from their GP in a few months time.
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