Tuesday, July 7, 1998 Published at 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Health: Latest News
Fear over Viagra stampede
GPs are worried about the cost of funding Viagra
Matlock GP Dr Peter Holden will warn the British Medical Association's annual conference in Cardiff that, if Viagra is made available on the NHS, it would lead to regional variations in its availability.
Dr Holden said some GPs would not be able to afford to prescribe the drug which, at around £120 for 30 tablets, was so expensive it could potentially quadruple the drugs bill.
Some doctors say as many as one in 10 British men may suffer from impotence, although others say the number is more likely to be around one in six.
Dr Holden says Viagra's effectiveness should be judged on whether it reduces hospital admissions, GP visits and other management costs.
Health Secretary Frank Dobson said recently that he did not believe Viagra should be freely available on the NHS.
It is expected to be licensed for general sale in Europe in the autumn.
In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration is investigating the deaths of around 20 people who have used Viagra. Manufacturer Pfizer warns patients not to mix the drug, which was originally developed to fight low blood pressure, with nitrate-based drugs.