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Monday, June 29, 1998 Published at 05:30 GMT 06:30 UK


Viagra on demand ruled out

There have been safety fears in the US about the new drug


Frank Dobson: "It's up to the official body"
Viagra, the impotence treatment drug, will not be freely available on the National Health Service, the government has said.

The drug will only be prescribed where there are "sound clinical reasons", Health Secretary Frank Dobson said.

There are fears that the total bill for the drug could run into millions of pounds if it was available on demand.

When Viagra was launched in the US last March, £1.7m was spent on prescriptions in the first two months.


[ image: Viagra will remain restricted on the NHS]
Viagra will remain restricted on the NHS
There are also safety fears about the drug, which is believed to have claimed 24 lives in the US.

Mr Dobson told BBC TV's Breakfast With Frost: "It's up to the official body to check whether it is safe and if they decide that it is safe then the advice we would offer to the NHS is that it should be available providing there are good, sound clinical reasons for it.

"But if people just go rushing round to their doctor and say 'Can I have some Viagra?' because they have lost a bit of their zeal, I don't think they are likely to succeed."

Viagra is expected to be licensed for sale in Europe in the autumn.



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Internet Links

US Food and Drug Administration

Department of Health

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