More MS news articles for December 2000

Public invited to have their say on impotence treatment

Tuesday December 12, 8:40 AM

The Government is inviting comments and views from the medical profession, the public and the drug industry about the current arrangements for the prescribing of drug treatments for impotence by GPs.

The period of consultation follows regulations, which came into effect in July last year to provide for GPs to prescribe impotence treatments, such as Viagra, on the NHS only in specified conditions.

Currently, such treatments, for instance, can be prescribed only to impotent men with certain accompanying medical conditions, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, poliomyelitis or prostate cancer. Otherwise healthy individuals are required to show that they are suffering considerable distress from impotence.

"When the current statutory framework was put in place it was considered to accommodate the need to treat men with the distressing condition of impotence, while protecting the resources of the NHS to deal with other patients, for example those with cancer, heart disease and mental health problems," explained health minister Lord Philip Hunt.

"We believe that this has been a sensible balance. But as we promised when the policy was introduced in July 1999, we are now asking for the views of patients and clinicians."