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Monday, June 29, 1998 Published at 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK

World: Middle East

UAE reportedly legalizes Viagra

The United Arab Emirates is reported to have become the first Arab country to approve the sale of the impotence drug, Viagra.

Newspapers in the emirate say a special committee has been set up to oversee sales, which could begin by the end of the year.

Correspondents say mail-order companies have been sending Viagra to the UAE, where it was being sold illegally for many times its retail price.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority, Sheikh Abdel Aziz ibn Baz, said there was no Islamic prohibition against Viagra.

He said Muslim men could use the drug to help improve their sex lives as long as it contained no intoxicating ingredients.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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