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Viagra now available in Australia



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The P H A R M A C Y G U I L D of A U S T R A L I A N A T I O N A L S E C R E T A R I A T l i f ^ ‘I f

Viagra

Statement by Harry Zafer, Acting National President

Viagra now available in Australia

Viagra (Sildenafil) has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for release in Australia. It is indicated for the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction. It is not a stimulant or aphrodisiac. Nor is it a cure-all - one in four patients may not respond to the treatment

Viagra has become a household name well before its approval and release in this country, no doubt because of international media attention and the fact that Australian patients have been able to obtain the drug through the Internet.

Viagra is available only by prescription.

Viagra is a potent therapeutic substance. As with any such medications, it should be used carefully and with due regard to its interactions with other drugs. The product is therefore available in Australia only by prescription. It can be sold only by pharmacists, who can provide appropriate professional advice about its use and effects. Pharmacists are legally prevented from selling the product to anyone without a prescription.

Nitrates

Men receiving treatment with nitrates should not use Viagra. Pharmacists should be aware of their responsibility not to sell non-prescription nitrates to patients who are using Viagra. Caution is also advised for men for whom sexual activity is inadvisable due to cardiovascular risk factors.

Viagra is not available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Viagra is available only as a private prescription, in three strengths - 25mg, 50mg and lOOmg. The Government has not yet indicated whether the medication will be available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. That means the cost is

unlikely to be subsidised by the Government in the foreseeable future and patients therefore pay the full cost. pto

14 Thesiger Court PO Box 36 D eakin W est ACT 2600 T e l e ph o ne (06) 281 0911 ยท Facsimile (06) 282 4745

Price

In the past it was possible for organisations like the Guild to recommend a price for such a product. One of the advantages was that pharmacists and their patients had a degree of certainty about the cost and availability of medications - just as they do now under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Australian law now prohibits the recommending of prices. Each pharmacist must make that decision individually, based on the cost structures of their individual pharmacies. Prices will therefore vary, possibly considerably.

The Internet has probably created an expectation that prices in Australia will be, in relative terms, similar to those in the United States. The retail price of Viagra in the US averages between $US9.50 and $US12 per tablet for the 50mg strength, which represents about two thirds of Viagra sales in the USA. At current exchange rates, that7s between $A16 and $A20 per tablet depending on the price charged by the manufacturer.

These figures are indicative - they are in no way recommended prices. Pharmacists will determine their own pricing policy according to their individual circumstances. They are not obliged to adhere to any suggested or recommended prices by wholesalers, manufacturers or by any other person or organisation.

14 September 1998

Contact - Wendy Phillips, Acting Executive Director 02 6281 0911

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