Erectile dysfunction: NHS should meet current need before preventing future medical needs

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7389.598 (Published 15 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:598
  1. Brian Hurwitz, D'Oyly Carte professor of medicine and the arts,
  2. Adrian Cook, statistician,
  3. Richard Ashcroft, Leverhulme senior lecturer in medical ethics
  1. King's College, London WC2R 2LS
  2. Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London SW7 2AZ

    EDITOR—In 1998, coincident with a shift in treatment of erectile dysfunction from specialists to general practitioners, rationing of all drug treatments for impotence was introduced in the British NHS.1 In addition to rationing by selecting 12 causes of erectile dysfunction eligible for NHS treatment (and patients with “severe distress” confirmed by a psychiatrist), the Department of Health used data on the frequency of heterosexual sexual intercourse2 to recommend that one treatment a week was appropriate for most patients. …

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