As from 27th March 2018, men can purchase over-the-counter viagra for the first time in the UK without the need of a prescription. Viagra Connect, manufactured by Pfizer can be purchased exclusively from Boots pharmacy and online for two weeks before they become available at other pharmacies.
The medical manager for Pfizer, Kristie Sourial MRPharmS said, “The launch of Viagra Connect offers men a new and convenient route of access to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. It's important to remember that erectile dysfunction is a medical condition, and that the impact often goes beyond the physical symptoms – it can lead to men feeling anxious, depressed and lacking confidence.”
However, the chairman of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), Ian Strachan has stated that Pfizer's decision to have an exclusive two-week deal with Boots is “incredibly disappointing.”
In a statement to the media he said, “Deals like this restrict patient choice and undermine confidence in independent community pharmacies. Furthermore, it points towards an inherent unfairness whereby vertically integrated companies can steal a march on their competitors with this type of sweetheart deal.”
In a YouTube video, Dr Teena Thomas, a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist explains the side effects of taking viagra. Some of the side effects she mentions are “dizziness, loss of hearing, loss of water, diarrhoea...”, etc.
As this is a new breakthrough within the UK pharmaceutical industry, one may be skeptical in opting to buy viagra at their local pharmacy. Leyla Hannbeck MSc, MRPharmS, MBA, M.A., Chief Pharmacist and Director of Pharmacy at NPA spoke exclusively to Asian Voice regarding the prospect of viagra being available without a prescription. She said, “Viagra is not new to pharmacist. They are very much trained on what advise to give and whether they should be dispensing viagra to the customer. Viagra being made available to buy over the counter has many advantages, such as, it will stop people from using dodgy websites to buy the pill, which could be very dangerous.”
Men over the age of 18 can purchase Viagra Connect, however, before the transaction is completed they will need to answer some questions at the pharmacy or complete a short questionnaire online. And once the pharmacist has approved the answers the transaction will go through.
Leyla Hannbeck added, “Before selling viagra, the pharmacist will ask a list of health-related questions to the customer to see whether they have a heart condition or any underlying conditions which may be affect. The pharmacist will only issue viagra once they are certain that the customer does not have any conditions that will be affected by this pill. Pharmacists will also instruct and help the customers on how to take the pill. Therefore, it is essential that the customer is honest with the pharmacists about their health condition as they will be putting themselves at risk if they do not give the right information.”
Currently available at Boots stores and online, over-the-counter viagra will be available at independent pharmacies from 11th April.