That’s a stiff rise

Viagra is costing the Scottish NHS £9million in prescriptions it was revealed yesterday. The figures represent a rise of 400 per cent since 2002.

It’s a bill that outstrips the £6million spent on penicillin and comes at a time when treatments for cancer and dementia are being rationed.

Henry Simmons, chief executive of Alzheimer's Scotland, said: ‘In difficult economic times we need to be clear about what we value and the people who are in greatest need of medical help.’

Emma Boon of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: ‘Patients refused drugs that could extend their life will question why such huge sums are being spent on anti-impotence drugs.’

But chairman of the Scottish Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr Ken Lawton, said: ‘The prescribing of Viagra on the NHS is very carefully controlled.

‘Reasons for the increase are that men are less embarrassed about speaking about erectile dysfunction and there has been a rise in diabetes, which includes erectile dysfunction as one of its side-effects.’

It’s said that one in ten men suffer from erectile dysfunction at some point during their lives.

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