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VIAGRA FALLS; (That's in Ayrshire, where pills flop).

Byline: GRAHAM MARTIN

VIRILE Ayrshire men use the impotence drug Viagra less than any other fellas in the UK.

New figures show that doctors there prescribe the pills the least. In contrast, Londoners have signed up for the sex- aid treatment in record numbers.

Statistics from the Department of Health reveal people from Camden and Islington in the English capital use the drug more often than anyone else.

A 12-month study showed the health authority there spent pounds 1946 per 1000 men on the drug. In second place - with pounds 1933 per 1000 blokes - was Manchester. Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Health Authority, again in London, came third.

Yesterday, experts denied southern men had more problems in bed.

Ann Taylor, of the Impotence Association, said there could be several reasons behind the geographical split.

She said: "There are still wide variations in access to impotence treatments. We know some men find their doctors are refusing to prescribe Viagra.

"Areas like Camden and Islington have been very proactive. They produced a leaflet telling doctors and patients about impotence treatments."

Viagra is prescribed on the NHS to treat problems in men who have conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, prostate cancer or spinal cord injuries.

Every year, it costs the NHS pounds 25million. For doctors prescribing the drug, the net price for a packet of eight 25mg tablets is pounds 33.19. Packets of eight super- strength 100mg pills cost pounds 46.99.

Outside the NHS, many men pay up to pounds 10 a tablet for private prescriptions, or buy batches through the internet.

However, moves are afoot which could lead to Viagra becoming available over the counter, following a recommendation by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

No one from Ayrshire and Arran Health Board was available for comment last night.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 21, 2002
Words:298
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