Intended for healthcare professionals


UK pilot allows pharmacists to supply sildenafil without prescription

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:387
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    Doctors are welcoming a pilot study launched in an English city last week in which men with erectile dysfunction can buy sildenafil (Viagra) directly from community pharmacists rather than having to be prescribed the drug by a doctor. But they feel the scheme does not tackle the inequity of the present system, under which some male patients are able to obtain the drug free on the NHS while others are excluded from free treatment. Some experts also object to the fact that the scheme is limited to only one drug.

    Three pharmacies—part of the Boots chain—in Manchester are piloting the new service, which involves an initial screening with a pharmacist and long term follow-up for men wanting ongoing provision of sildenafil. The potential for the scheme to be extended across the UK will be assessed later this year.

    Geoffrey Hackett, a GP and consultant urologist at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and president of the British Society of Sexual Medicine, argued that more men should be eligible for treatment on the NHS. Drug treatment can be provided …

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