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Will US Patients Have Access to Nonprescription Viagra Like They Do in the UK?

Viagra is now available without a prescription in the United Kingdom. However, there’s no real evidence to indicate that a similar move is likely in the United States, at least not in the immediate future.

News that Viagra is now sold over the counter in the United Kingdom appears to have raised hopes that a similar move might follow here in the United States.

However, little evidence can be found to support such an optimistic view.

After all, it’s been a relatively short time since generic Viagra came to market in the United States. It was December 11, 2017, when Teva’s generic formulation of the little blue pill became available to U.S. consumers. At the same time, Greenstone LLC, a wholly owned Pfizer subsidiary that specializes in generic pharmaceuticals, introduced its generic version of Viagra on the U.S. market.

Furthermore, additional generic versions of the popular ED pill are expected to follow in the foreseeable future. Viagra has faced generic competition in the United Kingdom and most other countries of the European Union since mid-2013. One is tempted to say, “Let’s take one thing at a time.”

Behind-the-Counter Classification

It should be noted that the U.K.’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval, first announced in late November 2017, allows Viagra to be reclassified from a prescription-only medication to a so-called pharmacy product. This puts Viagra behind the counter in much the same way that drugs containing pseudoephedrine are dispensed by U.S. pharmacists — only upon the express request of a customer and not simply picked up from a drugstore shelf.

A British consumer who wants to buy a packet of Viagra tablets will have to request the product from a licensed U.K. pharmacist who will then have the opportunity to determine if the buyer is an appropriate candidate for the drug. Prospective customers who suffer from certain medical conditions or take drugs known to interact adversely with sildenafil citrate, Viagra’s active ingredient, likely would be turned down.

Pseudoephedrine Controlled in US

In the United States, drugs containing the oral decongestant pseudoephedrine are sold without a prescription, but their sale is controlled by pharmacists because the substance can be used to manufacture methamphetamine, an illegal drug. This is currently the only so-called “behind-the-counter” drug in the United States.

However, in the United Kingdom and several other countries, including Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands, several drugs fall into this third classification, setting them apart from prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications that can be picked up freely from pharmacy shelves. According to PeoplesPharmacy.com, drugs that fall into this third — or BTC — classification include nystatin for fungal infections, diclofenac for inflammation and pain, and diphenoxylate for diarrhea.

Pfizer Keeps Its Options Open

For its part, Pfizer, which first introduced Viagra in 1998, is keeping its options open with regard to a possible American OTC marketing scheme for the little blue pill. A Pfizer spokesman told FiercePharma.com that it had no information on specific prescription-to-OTC switch programs in the United States. However, he noted that “generally we consider prescription drugs — both within the Pfizer portfolio and outside it — for a potential switch to nonprescription status. Our objective is to provide consumers with significantly greater access to medicines with well-established efficacy and safety profiles without a prescription.”

Joe Graedon, publisher of PeoplesPharmacy.com, personally thinks OTC Viagra in the United States is a bad idea, given the Food and Drug Administration’s reluctance to formally adopt a behind-the-counter classification in this country. He notes that men with heart disease, kidney damage, liver failure, or those taking drugs that interact adversely with sildenafil will be unable to buy Viagra in Britain, which will protect vulnerable consumers in a way that’s not yet feasible in America.

How to Obtain Viagra

Viagra

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has thus far shown little inclination to approve the sale of oral erectile dysfunction drugs over the counter.

For the foreseeable future, Viagra and sildenafil citrate, its generic equivalent, are available only by prescription.

If you have a doctor’s script for the drug, you can get it filled locally or choose to order the drug online from a reliable online facilitator such as eDrugstore.com. Simply fax your prescription or scan and email it along with your order.

Alternatively, eDrugstore can set up a complimentary online consultation for you with one of its team of licensed U.S. physicians, thus saving you the added cost of a visit to the doctor’s office. If eDrugstore’s physician determines that you are an appropriate candidate for Viagra or its generic equivalent, a prescription will be authorized. To learn more about erectile dysfunction and the drugs available to treat it, click below to reach eDrugstore’s Erectile Dysfunction page.