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Viagra Prescriptions on the NHS Rocket 2014-09-12
By Ian Broad for MailOnline

Viagra prescriptions on the NHS rocket as 1.4m British men take the drug in a single year

    Cost of blue pills has fallen by 93 per cent since patent ran out last year
    More than 3,800 prescriptions are handed out by the NHS every day 
    Half of all men aged between 40 and 70 suffer from erectile problems
    Department of Health says condition could be sign of more serious issue

 

The number of men taking Viagra prescriptions on the NHS rocket as 1.4m British men take the drug in a single year making anti-impotence drug Viagra has swollen to 1.4 million - after the price of the blue pills dropped dramatically.

NHS figures for last year show that the number of men taking the drug has risen from 1.2million in 2009.

And more than 3,800 prescriptions are being dished every day since Viagra's patent ran out last year.
Impotence help: More than 3,800 prescriptions have been handed out every day since Viagra's patent ran out


Impotence help: More than 3,800 prescriptions have been handed out every day since Viagra's patent ran out

Until recently, only men who suffered impotence as a side-effect of illness or those seen by a specialist could be given the pills on the NHS.

But since Viagra's patent ran out last year, its cost has plummeted by 93 per cent and cheaper, generic versions of the drug have become available.

Because of this, the NHS has allowed all men with serious impotence problems to be prescribed the drug.

Previously, only men with certain medical or psychological conditions could access erectile dysfunction drugs on the NHS.
 
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Some doctors have said the move has the potential to save relationships, as an estimated half of all men aged between 40 and 70 suffer from the problem.

But some doctors are worried that increased demand for the drug could add to GPs' heavy workloads.

Until a year ago, branded Viagra pills, made by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, cost £21.27 for a pack of four.

Since the firm's patent expired in June 2013, rival companies have been allowed to make generic versions containing the same active ingredient, sildenafil, priced at just £1.45 for four pills.
Viagra's cost has plummeted by 93 per cent and cheaper, generic versions of the drug are now available
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Previously, only men with certain medical or psychological conditions could access erectile dysfunction drugs on the NHS


Viagra's cost has plummeted by 93 per cent and cheaper, generic versions of the drug are now available

In 2012, the NHS in England spent £88million on providing erectile dysfunction drugs to 180,000 men, of which £43million went on branded Viagra.

Under the new rules, it estimates demand could nearly double in three years to 330,000 men using the NHS to get the pills.

Erectile problems most typically affect men in their forties or fifties but younger men can be affected too.

Patients will still need a prescription to get the drug on the NHS and doctors will continue to make decisions based on individual needs.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: 'Erectile dysfunction is a common and distressing condition and may be a sign of more serious underlying health problems, such as depression or hypertension.

Now that this treatment is much cheaper we have made it more widely available on the NHS and we hope this will encourage more men to visit their GP.'


 
 
 
Patent Pending:   60/481641
 
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