Viagra use on the rise across the Midlands.
Byline: DEBORA ARU Staff Reporter
THE West Midlands has seen prescriptions for Viagra and similar drugs almost double in five years - as the cost tumbles.
Sildenafil - the drug marketed as Viagra, although also now available in generic form - was prescribed 161,256 times across Clinical Commissioning Groups in the West Midlands between June 2017 and May 2018.
That works out as one prescription for every 9.5 men in the area over the year.
The number of prescriptions has increased 1.9 times since 2013/14, when there were 86,730 prescriptions, or one for every 17.3 men.
The cost of erectile dysfunction drugs has been tumbling since the UK patent on Viagra expired in 2013.
That meant companies other than Pfizer, which manufactures Viagra, were allowed to manufacture the same chemical for the same purposes.
These generic forms of sildenafil are cheaper for the NHS - making health chiefs more willing to prescribe it in greater amounts.
Dudley saw the highest rise in prescriptions for sildenafil across the metropolitan area. In 2017/18 there were 16,906 prescriptions, 2.3 times more than the 7,433 items prescribed in 2013/14.
In Birmingham and Solihull the number went from 33,596 to 64,228 in the same period.
The figures were obtained from the NHS prescription databank.
The NHS actually counts prescription items.
Each time a prescription is filled, that counts as one item - regardless of how many pills are prescribed.
It means one man can have many sildenafil prescriptions counted over the course of a year.
Across England as a whole, there were 3.3 million Sildenafil prescriptions in the 12 months to May this year. That works out as one for every 6.4 adult men.
The rate is more than twice as high as it was in 2013/14, when there were 1.5 million prescriptions, or one for every 13.8 men.
Since March this year people have been able to buy Viagra without prescription under the name of Viagra Connect.
Prices of Viagra Connect generally range from between PS4 and PS5 per tablet.