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Erectile dysfunction drugs limited to twice a month

Exclusive GPs are being asked to limit patients receiving medication for erectile dysfunction on the NHS to just two tablets a month.

South Central Priorities Committee's MOBBB group, which covers PCTs in Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire, Berkshire East, Berkshire West and Buckinghamshire, is advising GPs to apply the limit to prescriptions for sildenafil (Viagra), varednafil and tadalifil.

Prescribing of medication for erectile dysfunction on the NHS is already subject to severe restrictions, with availability limited to patients with specific conditions including diabetes, multiple sclerosis and prostate cancer. PCTs insisted the new policy was ‘a recommendation to GPs', but LMC leaders raised concerns it was being presented to GPs as ‘edicts'.

Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxon LMCs, said: ‘It is getting in the way of GPs having a sensible dialogue with patients about their requirements. Local priorities committees don't understand the only restrictions on GP prescribing come from the national black list and grey list. They sometimes portray recommendations as a rule that has to be obeyed, and that's not true.'

A spokesperson for NHS Oxfordshire said: ‘Any decision made by the PCT cannot prohibit prescribing, but will form a recommendation to GPs.'

The policy can be adapted locally and NHS Berkshire East is implementing the two-dose policy for new patients only. An NHS Berkshire East spokesperson said: ‘Existing patients are prescribed four tablets a month, but new patients are treated in line with the policy published [by] the Berkshire Priorities Committee.'

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