Free trial of Viagra tablets planned | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 31, 2015
  • Updated: 10:27pm

Free trial of Viagra tablets planned

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 October, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 October, 1998, 12:00am
 

Impotent men will probably be given their first four Viagra tablets free for 'trial purposes' after the Hospital Authority approves the use of the drug this year.


The plan emerged yesterday after the first meeting of the Hospital Authority's Viagra taskforce.


The taskforce will now consider whether a course of treatment should be paid for by the patient or be partly or wholly financed by the Hospital Authority.


Whatever is decided, patients will most likely receive up to four tablets free for a trial run.


'This drug does not work for everyone. It has an 80 per cent efficacy rate, so they need to be tested on the patient,' said taskforce member and urologist Andrew Yip Wai-chun.


'The [authority] can pay for the test drug, the patient can try it and they can come and report back in a month,' he said.


The taskforce is comprised of three urologists, two psychiatrists, a medical social worker, a pharmacist, a cardiologist and an endocrinologist.


Dr Yip said it was expected that the Hospital Authority would require a specialist to prescribe the drug, in conjunction with family counselling.


However, in the private sector, any general practitioner would be able to prescribe it.


A maximum of about 10 tablets per month would be prescribed at a time.


'Many of the people wanting the drug may be 60 or 70 years old, so they are probably not having sex every day,' Dr Yip said.


'There is also a danger if we prescribe too many at once that they may be sold to friends and so on.' He said the group was aware of family problems that had been sparked in the United States after men had started taking the drug, so family counselling would be an element of the Hospital Authority treatment, Dr Yip said.


It is estimated that up to 100,000 men may seek Viagra prescriptions when they become available.


Viagra should be on sale legally by the end of the year for between $77 and $100 a tablet.


However, the drug is already available in several street markets and some pharmacists are also dispensing it illegally.


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