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Monday, July 6, 1998 Published at 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK


Health

Should Viagra be available on the NHS?



Viagra - the impotence pill which has caused a storm of interest around the world - could be given a licence in the UK.

But the government says the 18-per-pill drug should only be available where there are "sound clinical reasons" - not freely available on the NHS.

One in 10 men in the UK is reported to have an impotence problem, so should Viagra be available on the NHS? Or should people be required to pay for the full cost out of their own pocket? Can a compromise be found? Should Viagra be given a licence at all?

At present, the drug is available in the UK through private doctors. They charge for it and take personal responsibility for any problems which might develop as a result.

Some campaigners say that it should be available on the NHS because the male impotence problem is so widespread and many cannot afford the cure.

However, others argue that the cost to the taxpayer would be enormous, particularly given media hype over the drug.

And in the USA, investigations are under way into the deaths of over 20 people, said to be linked to taking Viagra.

Viagra is available over the internet. Other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, have already agreed to its sale.

BBC Television's Panorama is making a programme on Viagra. It wants to hear from anyone who has considered taking the drug or has a strong view on it.

If you are interested in taking part in the programme, ring Panorama on 0181 752 4914.



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