Is Viagra available on the NHS?

Sildenafil is available for some men on the NHS, under certain conditions.

It mostly depends on your definition of ‘getting treated on the NHS’: for some people this means acquiring a prescription medication from the NHS free of charge; whereas for others, it means getting medication at the reduced rate or standard levy (currently £8.60 - correct at the time of writing) offered by the state health service.

Viagra itself, as in the named product developed by Pfizer, is not available on NHS prescription for free, or at the standard levy. It can only be bought privately, at the regular market price. An NHS GP may also charge a rate for issuing a private prescription for it.

You won’t need to go any specialist pharmacy to obtain Viagra with a private prescription. Most high street chemists and online pharmacists do stock the drug, and if they don’t, they should be able to order it to satisfy a prescription.

So which erectile dysfunction treatments can I get on the NHS?

The generic version of Viagra, which is a tablet called Sildenafil, is available for erectile dysfunction on the NHS.

It was made available by the Department of Health in 2014, following a consultation with 87 doctors.

Sildenafil contains the same active ingredient, performs the same function in the body, and is available at the same dosage integers.

However, Sildenafil on the NHS is not available to anyone with ED. Only men with certain conditions are entitled to buy it at the standard levy rate.

Who is entitled?

Persons who have: diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, polio, prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease or spina bifida.

It is also made available on the NHS for some men who have undergone dialysis, a kidney transplant, a prostatectomy or surgery on the pelvis.

So does this mean that people who have any of the above conditions will get Sildenafil for free?

No. There are other certain criteria for patients entitled to free NHS treatment.

And in the case of Sildenafil, it may only be issued without charge to those patients who are experiencing severe episodes of impotence, potentially causing serious emotional or relationship implications.

Furthermore, a measured supply of the drug is issued to those in such cases; and so is not technically ‘free’.

What constitutes a measured supply?

The amount of Sildenafil issued on an NHS prescription is four tablets per month, which amounts to one dose a week.

Can Viagra be bought over-the-counter?

No. You will require a prescription for Viagra, even if you are entitled to free NHS treatment. It is also likely that your doctor will need to monitor your usage of the drug and its rate of success after prescribing it.

Has Viagra ever been available over-the-counter?

Yes. For a brief period in 2009, a small group of pharmacies in the UK trialled selling Viagra over-the-counter (OTC); but even then, the patient was required to undergo consultation with a pharmacist prior to issue.

Will Viagra ever be available over-the-counter again?

That remains to be seen. It is the opinion of that it likely will not, because the drug can cause dangerous interactions when used in conjunction with other medicines, and specific guidance from a healthcare professional on its safe use is required.

Can I buy Viagra online?

The easier and more convenient alternative for those not entitled to Sildenafil on the NHS is to purchase online. This method enables the buyer to maintain total privacy and saves them a trip to their chemist.

Over the years, the internet pharmacy industry has been open to fraudulent practices.

But there are simple checks you can make to guarantee that you’re buying genuine medication from a trusted seller.

Page last reviewed:  Tuesday, Sep 05 2017