The MHRA have today posted a consultation about the switch of sildenafil from a prescription only medicine to a pharmacy medicine, which means it must be sold under the supervision of a pharmacist.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society fully supports the application for sildenafil to move from prescription only (POM) to pharmacy medicine (P) status so it can be provided directly by pharmacists for erectile dysfunction (ED).
Discussing health problems with patients and advising on the benefits and risks of treatment options is an integral part of the role of a pharmacist. The potential switch of sildenafil from POM to P status increases access to a medicine that has been proven to be safe and effective when used appropriately through over a decade of real world use by millions of men.
Erectile dysfunction can be a warning sign of cardiovascular disease, and increasing access to sildenafil via private consultations at pharmacies means more men will get the help they need. Pharmacists will provide referral to local GPs when necessary, which could help detect the underlying cause of ED and potentially reduce heart attacks and strokes.
Around two-thirds of men with erectile dysfunction will do nothing about their condition or resort to the internet to buy medication. Sildenafil is one of the most counterfeited medicines, which means at best they will be getting substandard treatment and at worst risking their health. Men going to a community pharmacy can be assured of a safe and legitimate supply, as well as high quality advice which will ensure the medicine is right for them.
If the switch is agreed, RPS will provide advice and guidance to members on erectile dysfunction.