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Friday, August 28, 1998 Published at 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK


Pensioners targeted by Viagra mail shot

Mailshot offers Viagra supplies even though it is yet to be licensed

Trading standards officers have warned an illegal mail shot offering home delivery of the impotence drug Viagra is being targeted at pensioners.

The campaign came to light after a pensioner in Liverpool opened one of the mail shots addressed to her recently deceased husband.

A London-based company is offering supplies of up to 20 of the pills at 17-25 each.

Details were passed on to the Medicines Control Agency, which is responsible for investigating potential breaches of the Medicines Act and the medicines advertising regulations.

Disgraceful


[ image: Viagra: dangerous with heart drugs]
Viagra: dangerous with heart drugs
Pharmacist and chairman of Liverpool City Council's environmental services committee, Councillor Eddie Clein said: "It is disgraceful that people should be offered this unlicensed product in this irresponsible and illegal way.

"There is also no medical supervision involved and people are being asked to choose different strength pills with no information about which dosage might be suitable for them."

Head of Liverpool trading standards Peter Mawdsley advised people against sending money in response to the mail shot.

He said: "Instead people should report details to trading standards."

Viagra is expected to be available in Britain on prescription from next month.

Dangerous

However, there are concerns over the safety of the drug, which is dangerous if taken in combination with some heart disease medications.

More than 100 deaths wordwide have been associated with taking Viagra, including 69 in the US alone.

The average age among those who died in the US, based on ages provided for 55 of the patients, was 64.

A spokesman for the Medicines Control Agency said the case would be studied by a MCA enforcement unit.

She said: "Our advice is do not take any unlicensed product, go and see your GP instead."



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