Generic Viagra gives more Brits a lift as NHS opens access

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HUNDREDS of thousands of men in Britain could enjoy a boost to their love lives following a National Health Service (NHS) decision to dish out much more Viagra on prescription.

Until this month, only men who suffered impotence as a side effect of illness or those evaluated 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 percent as generic versions of the drug have become available. Because of this, the NHS has ruled that all men with serious impotence problems can now be prescribed the drug.

Doctors have welcomed the change – which came into effect on August 1 – saying it had the potential to save relationships. Half of all men aged between 40 and 70 are estimated to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Until a year ago, branded Viagra pills, made by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, cost £21.27 (R375) for a pack of four.

But after the firm’s patent expired in June last year, rival companies have been allowed to make “generic” versions containing the same active ingredient, sildenafil, priced at just £1.45 for four pills.

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

Under the new rules, it estimates demand could nearly double in three years to 330 000. – Daily Mail


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