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Viagra can be sold over the counter for the first time

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Men in the UK will soon be able to buy Viagra over the counter for the first time after the erectile dysfunction drug was reclassified.Those aged 18 and over will no longer need to see a GP for a prescription after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that it is changing the status of Viagra Connect tablets so they can be sold in pharmacies following a conversation with a pharmacist.US pharmaceutical company Pfizer said it is working on plans to launch the non-prescription version of the medicine in the UK in the spring of 2018.A four-pack of the sildenafil tablets will cost around £19.99 and an eight-pack £34.99.Men who buy it will be advised that they can take a 50 mg tablet an hour before having sex, but should not use more than one pill a day.Sildenafil is already available on NHS prescription free of charge.The decision to reclassify the drug follows a public consultation, the MHRA said.Pharmacists will be able to determine whether treatment is appropriate for the patient and can give advice on erectile dysfunction, usage of the medicine, potential side effects and assess if further consultation with a general practitioner 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.It is hoped that making the drug more widely available will mean than men who may have not previously sought help will be more likely to do so.Health officials also hope the move will also help steer people away from buying drugs websites operating illegally.The MHRA said that erectile dysfunction medicines are a “popular target” for criminals selling unlicensed and counterfeit medicines, over the past five years the Agency has seized more than £50m of unlicensed and counterfeit erectile dysfunction 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.” Dr Berkeley Phillips, UK medical director at Pfizer, 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 m
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