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Viagra to go OTC in the UK, say authorities

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Viagra will be available without prescription in the UK in a bid to curtail the black market for the drug

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said yesterday that Viagra Connect (containing sildenafil 50mg) will be reclassified as a pharmacy medicine and available to men over 18.

The move comes after authorities assessed the safety of Viagra and following a public consultation.

However, it will not be available to the people with cardiovascular disease and risk, severe kidney failure, liver failure, or for people taking certain medications.

“Making this medication more widely available will help direct men who might not otherwise seek help into the healthcare system and away from the risks that come with buying medicines from websites operating illegally,” the MHRA said.

Erectile dysfunction medicines are a popular target for criminals selling unlicensed and counterfeit medicines. Over the past five years, investigators from MHRA has seized more than £50 (AU$88m) of unlicensed and counterfeit erectile dysfunction medicines.

Mick Foy, MHRA’s group manager in Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines, said the decision was good “news for men’s health” and will encourage men to seek help for erectile dysfunction within the health system without resorting to the black market.

“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.”

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