Ration Viagra Pills to Just Two a Month, Doctors Told; NHS Bosses Rule on How Often Patients Should Be Making Love

Daily Mail (London), December 8, 2011 | Go to article overview

Ration Viagra Pills to Just Two a Month, Doctors Told; NHS Bosses Rule on How Often Patients Should Be Making Love


Byline: Sophie Borland Health Reporter

VIAGRA prescriptions should be rationed to two pills a month, GPs have been told - on the assumption that patients will have sex only once a fortnight.

Managers at several NHS trusts are encouraging doctors to limit the number of tablets handed out to cut costs.

Critics say that such rationing is treating sex 'like an unnecessary luxury' and warn it will cause anguish among patients.

The [pounds sterling]5 pill is already heavily restricted and only men with serious illnesses that affect their sex drive are eligible to have the medication for free.

There are no national restrictions on how many should be given to each patient per month.

However, the Department of Health has previously issued guidance stating middle-aged men - those aged 40 to 60 - only need it once a week because that is their 'frequency of intercourse'.

Now a panel of managers overseeing primary care trusts in Oxford-shire, Milton Keynes, Buckingham-shire and Berkshire have told GPs to halve this number.

The guidance issued by the South Central Priorities Committee, uncovered by Pulse Magazine, says doctors should only prescribe Viagra and two other drugs that have similar effects at 'a maximum frequency of dosing of two times a month'.

The panel says it has come up with the guidance having looked at the 'financial impact on the health economy'. Dr Paul Roblin, who represents a committee of GPs in the area said: 'It is getting in the way of GPs having a sensible dialogue with patients about their requirements.

'Local priorities committees don't understand the only restrictions on GP prescribing come from the national "Blacklist" and "Greylist".'

These lists denote drugs that cannot be prescribed on the NHS, or can be prescribed in a limited number of cases.

Mr Roblin said that local priorities committees 'sometimes portray recommendations as a rule that has to be obeyed, and that's not true'. …

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