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Viagra to be available over the counter

Viagra
Viagra

Brits will be the first in the world to be able to buy Viagra over the counter, following the impotence drug’s reclassification.

Following a public consultation, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) made the change in an effort to stop people buying the drug from illegal websites.

Available since 1998, Viagra has been credited with revolutionising treatment of male impotence, but has become a target for criminals.

In 2016, £17m worth of counterfeit or unlicensed Viagra was seized.

So now, men aged 18 or over will be able to buy Viagra Connect from a chemist shop in spring next year. Available in a four-tablet pack or eight-tablet pack, it will retail at £19.99 and £34.99 respectively.

However, anyone wishing to purchase it will have to consult with the pharmacist, who will inform them of any side effects and decide whether the drug is appropriate for the patient or if a consultation with a GP is necessary.

Viagra was originally discovered by accident, during trials for a failed treatment for angina - its effectiveness on widening the blood vessels were limited, but test subjects reported a now well-known “side effect”.

Patients with cardiovascular disorders or liver problems, or who are taking medicines which could clash with Viagra Connect will be advised to see their GP. The manufacturer also recommends that pharmacists advise all men to follow up with their doctor within six months of first being supplied the product.

Mick Foy of the MHRA, said: “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.”

Dr Berkeley Phillips, of manufacturer Pfizer, added: “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.”