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Monday, 18 May, 1998, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Egypt tries to stop sale of impotence pill

Police in Egypt are reported to have raided drug stores in an attempt to prevent the illegal sale of the impotence drug, Viagra.

The drug, developed by the American firm, Pfizer, treats sexual impotence in men.

Until Viagra received its US licence in March, treatment for impotence had required drugs to be either injected or inserted directly into the penis.The Egyptian Health Ministry has banned Viagra until clinical trials are completed, but reports say it is being sold on the streets for more than seventeen dollars a pill -- almost double its retail price in the US.

The drug is also reported to be selling on the black market in Saudi Arabia, where its fetching around eighty dollars a pill.

Health officials there have been quoted as saying they believe the drug is being brought in illegally by travellers from Egypt.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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