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Viagra Connect consultations can have a 'huge' effect on men's health

Graham Phillips: Pharmacies can offer men advice, counselling and medicines use reviews
Graham Phillips: Pharmacies can offer men advice, counselling and medicines use reviews

Community pharmacists’ conversations with male patients who ask about Viagra Connect can make a “huge difference” to their health, an independent contractor has said.

The action pharmacists take after enquiries from men interested in purchasing Viagra Connect can not only improve men’s health but also change the way men use pharmacies, Graham Phillips, superintendent of the Manor Pharmacy Group in Hertfordshire, told C+D last month.

“I’ve always believed pharmacy has the potential to make a huge difference [to men’s health]. I’ve always wanted to find a way to access men, but we’ve never had it. Over a few years [the difference] will be profound,” he told C+D.

Manor Pharmacy’s 10 branches have referred around 15 patients with suspected cardiovascular disease to their GP since Viagra Connect became available from all pharmacies and wholesalers in April, Mr Phillips said.

He estimated that 90% of men with erectile dysfunction have a “physical or physiological problem” – which pharmacies can help with, by offering lifestyle counselling and conducting medicines use reviews.

Opportunity to “detect and treat”

Manor Pharmacy’s branches have sold between one and three packs of Viagra Connect a week since its launch – which Mr Phillips argued is “not massive”, but when multiplied across all UK pharmacies will be “significant”.

“Even if it's only a few [conversations], if you multiply that across every pharmacy, you can see how over a period of a year or two this can have a huge public health benefit to men.”

He argued the service “should go much further...to empower community pharmacies not just to detect but treat”, which he argued could “revolutionise treatment protocols”.

Pfizer launched Viagra Connect in the UK on March 27, following a reclassification from a pharmacy-only medicine (POM) to one available to purchase in pharmacies (P). Pfizer initially struck an exclusive two-week deal to supply the medicine in Boots pharmacies, before the medicine became available to buy in pharmacies across the UK in April.

A four-tablet pack of Viagra Connect retails at £19.99 and an eight-tablet pack is £34.99.

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