Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 14:57 UK

Older Chileans given free Viagra

By Greg Morsbach
BBC News

Viagra tablets
Viagra will be handed out four times a month to every man who asks for it

A Chilean mayor is to hand out free potency pills to older people in his municipality near the capital Santiago.

Mayor Gonzalo Navarette Munoz says he wants to improve their quality of life by giving them free access to Viagra.

He will give men aged 60 or over in the working-class suburb of Lo Prado the chance to get their potency pills courtesy of the taxpayer.

He says he was inspired by complaints from older patients about their poor sex lives while working as a doctor.

"This is about giving our elderly population a better quality of life," he told Chile's national press.

Mr Navarette says that within the next few days physicians will start dispensing the drugs at their surgeries and his office will pick up the bill.

Election sweetener?

The mayor has done some number-crunching already. He intends to hand out Viagra four times a month to every man who asks for it and passes a medical.

He has already drawn up a list of some 1,500 men who have shown interest.

It is estimated the programme will cost around $20,000 (10,000) in the first year.

Critics have suggested this is just a ploy to get the local politician re-elected.

But Mayor Navarette insists he is performing a valuable social service which, if successful, could be rolled out across Chile.

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30 Oct 07 |  Americas
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