Pharmaceutical

Will Viagra become available in the UK without a prescription?

viagra Will Viagra become available in the UK without a prescription?According to BT.com in the UK, plans have been unveiled for eliminating the need for a prescription for Viagra and instead men would be able to purchase the drug legally “after a chat with a pharmacist.”

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is reviewing the proposal to make Viagra over-the-counter during a consultation that runs until April 17.

An MHRA spokesman said: “We always aim to widen choice and access for medicines when it is safe to do so. A final decision on whether to make sildenafil 50mg tablets available as a pharmacy medicine has yet to be made. We have analysed the scientific evidence on safety and sought advice from the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM).”

Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra.

“The CHM advised that sildenafil 50mg tablets meets the criteria for pharmacy availability in certain circumstances for adult men with erectile dysfunction with a maximum dose of one tablet each day, and a maximum pack size of eight tablets, subject to public consultation,” the MHRA spokesman continued. “Involving the public and healthcare professionals is part of our standard regulatory process.”

In a scenario where this were approved, men would be self-diagnosing and pharmacists would be the ones who were responsible to identify red flags such as when men’s erectile dysfunction might actually be a sign of underlying heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure and then direct them to see a physician.

In this proposed “chat,” would pharmacists also take the time to warn men of the risks that might come with taking Viagra? For example, the drug has been linked by several studies to increased risk of melanoma. In one such study, there was an 84 percent increased risk of developing melanoma in men who had taken Viagra compared to men who had not. Another study revealed the mechanism by which Viagra, as a PDE5 inhibitor, may cause the deadly cancer to “grow more vigorously.”

Men who have taken the drug and developed melanoma claim that had they known of the risk they would have never taken the drug. AL.com published an excerpt from one such man’s lawsuit against Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer. It states: “Had Pfizer properly disclosed the melanoma-related risks associated with Viagra, plaintiff would have avoided the risk of developing melanoma by not using Viagra at all; severely limiting the dosage and length of its use; and/or more closely monitoring the degree to which the Viagra was adversely affecting his health.”

“The allegations in the Viagra cases are very serious,” said Jennifer Liakos, a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Steering Committee in Viagra Products Liability Action in a press release. “Melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer and often requires treatment with chemotherapy and radiation.”

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, although less than 1 percent of skin cancer cases are melanoma, it causes most skin cancer deaths. An estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017.

Sources:
BT.com
Righting Injustice
Skin Cancer Foundation