fox news - Impotence drug Viagra to go on sale over the counter
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.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.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.'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.'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
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