Viagra will be available over the counter in United Kingdom, says medicines regulator

Viagra to be sold over the counter to thwart online counterfeit dealers

For US-based pharmacists unfamiliar with what this means, it essentially now allows UK pharmacists to dispense Viagra 50mg (now called Viagra Connect) after conducting a review process and consultation for the patient seeking to purchase it (The UK has 3 categories of prescriptions including POM-Prescription Only Medicine, P-Pharmacy Medicine, and GSL-General Sales Lists [Drugs that are basically OTC]).

Viagra Connect - which will be available in four-tablet and eight-tablet packs, with recommended retail prices of £19.99 and £34.99 respectively - contains the generic drug sildenafil.

While the United Kingdom has been more progressive with letting pharmacists dispense specific classes of medications, this is an exciting development as the intent is to make it easier for men to access erectile dysfunction medications without seeing a doctor.

Mick Foy, MHRA's group manager in vigilance and risk management of medicines, said: '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.

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The MHRA said the decision was made after a safety assessment, advice from the Commission on Human Medicines, and positive responses to a public consultation earlier this year. It has opened up conversation about male impotence, although some say it has become a lifestyle drug.

Pharmacists will determine whether the treatment is appropriate and can advise on dose and side effects.

Berkeley Phillips, the United Kingdom medical director of Pfizer, told The Times that "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".

Men with health problems including heart and liver failure will still need a prescription. The tablets consist of the chemical sildenafil citrate, once studied for its help with high blood pressure until its makers realized it would probably be better suited for erectile dysfunction.

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