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Drug companies bypass doctors, push over-the-counter Viagra with in-store consultation

Thursday, February 22, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: viagra, over the counter medications, drug marketing

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(NewsTarget) The major UK pharmacy chain Boots has launched a pilot program to begin selling the anti-impotence drug Viagra over the counter. It marks the first time that the drug, manufactured by Pfizer Inc., has been available without a prescription.

As of February 14, any man between the age of 13 and 65 will be able to purchase four Viagra pills for 50 ($100) after short consultation with a pharmacist. The consultation involves a discussion of the man's medical history and symptoms, as well as tests of his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. He will also have to provide his name and address, as well as that of his primary care physician, but will not have to provide identification.

If the pharmacist determines that Viagra is appropriate and does not pose a health risk to the patient, nothing further is required. The details of the consultation will then be sent to the man's doctor and to other Boots stores.

This latter detail is to prevent men from faking multiple "first" visits. After the first purchase, any man who wishes to continue using Viagra must visit a private specialist for a thorough medical exam. If authorized by the specialist, he can continue buying Viagra for 21.25 ($41.37) per four pills.

"This is Big Pharma's latest attempt to dispense high-profit pharmaceuticals to as many people as possible, bypassing doctors entirely," said Mike Adams, author of "Natural Health Solutions."

"Ultimately, what drug companies want is Viagra vending machines, where customers can simply insert their credit cards and exchange their earned income for synthetic chemicals. Doctors are only embraced by drug companies today because doctors are the gatekeepers. That's why Big Pharma conspires with the FDA to push so many drugs to over-the-counter status, regardless of their safety it bypasses the gatekeepers and greatly expands the marketplace for their high-profit drugs while avoiding the scrutiny of doctors."

Viagra relaxes the smooth muscle in erectile tissue to increase blood flow and help men get erections. It has been associated with a number of severe side effects, as well as more minor ones including headache, dizziness, palpitations and prolonged, painful erections.


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