Posted 29 March 2017
By Zachary Brennan
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released a Pfizer proposal calling to make the popular erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil (more commonly known as Viagra) available without a prescription at UK pharmacies.
MHRA said it considers that “direct risks can be minimised to an acceptable level for Pharmacy supply of sildenafil 50mg tablets.”
Other ways to minimize those risks include Pfizer’s proposal that the drug only be made available for those over 18, and for patients with certain cardiovascular conditions and risk factors that might make them unsuitable for using the drug, they will be provided with instructions to consult a doctor.
“Patients can be assessed for suitability by a pharmacist and made aware of the risks, situations where supply is not appropriate and potential interactions with other drugs. The risks of indirect danger arising from missed diagnosis of underlying disease is minimised through the pharmacist using their professional judgement and the checklist to identify patients for whom the product is not suitable, and referring these patients to a doctor,” the proposal says.
In addition to the “low risk of direct danger and of intentional abuse” the proposal says those risks are “outweighed by the benefits that this route of supply can bring – by bringing a hard to reach group into healthcare environment with the potential to increase earlier identification of heart disease and also reducing the risks associated with use of counterfeits obtained via the internet.”
The deadline for comments on the proposal is 18 April 2017.