A Cork pharmacist has welcomed the launch of Viagra as an over-the-counter medication in what she described as "a good move".
Since earlier this week, Viagra Connect tablets have been made available to purchase without prescription as a pharmacy-only medicine.
Rose Murphy of Murphy’s pharmacy said the fact it has been licensed for availability in pharmacies is “a good move” and that it gives people who may be more private the opportunity to purchase the medication without a visit to their GP.
“The main thing really is that people can access medicine, that’s the most important thing.
I know people would have been able to access it through a GP as it was but some people still would be fairly private and would want to have it within their own power to sort it and now they can do that.
The move was also welcomed by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) who said that erectile dysfunction drugs are among the medicines most often bought online and purchasing them in this way from unregulated sources can pose “a major health risk to consumers”.
Community pharmacist and IPU member Tomás Conefrey said that in order to purchase Viagra Connect, men aged 18 and over will need to answer questions from their pharmacist about their symptoms, general health, and any other medications they are taking, so that the pharmacist can determine whether Viagra Connect is suitable for them.
“In cases where pharmacists believe the product is unsuitable for clinical reasons, they will advise men to see their doctor for further assistance,” he said.
Mr Conefrey said many erectile dysfunction products sold on websites and social media pages are falsely advertised.
“There are also other risk factors that people may not fully consider when purchasing medication online, including the importance of risk assessments.
“Your local community pharmacist is a medicines expert, who will ensure that any medicine you get from them is suitable for you and won’t react with any other medications you are taking. However, when purchasing medication online, all the established safety nets are bypassed,” he said.
Viagra Connect is for the treatment of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men aged 18 and over.