Is Viagra available on the NHS?

It 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 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 only available on the NHS for free or at the standard levy under specific circumstances. Sildenafil, the generic version, tends to be more widely offered.

Most men looking to get Viagra will typically need to do so 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 buy 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.

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

The generic version of Viagra, which is a tablet called Sildenafil, is the most widely available treatment 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 as Viagra, 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 the treatment for free, or at the standard levy rate.

In specific cases, some men may be able to get branded ED medicines such as Viagra or Cialis on the NHS too.

Who is entitled to branded treatment?

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

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

Are ED treatments on the NHS free?

In some cases, yes, but not always. There may be other criteria patients have to meet in order to be entitled to free NHS treatment.

And in the case of Sildenafil, it might 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. Viagra must be prescribed for you by a doctor, 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 get Viagra online?

The easier and more convenient alternative for those not entitled to Sildenafil on the NHS is to buy Viagra 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:  26/10/2017