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Managing Pharmacist Referrals

Your role in managing pharmacist referrals to your practice to help men with erectile dysfunction (ED)

VIAGRA connect is being made available over-the-counter (OTC) for the treatment of ED in men aged 18 years and older, at a 50 mg dose. This is the first OTC treatment for ED in the United Kingdom and creates a new access route that allows patients to purchase a clinically proven treatment via both a legal and regulated supply route. 

The drug will still be available on prescription for patients who prefer to obtain treatment via the doctor or Patient Group Directions (PGDs).

The guide provided, in the link below, has been written for the general practitioner, and provides background information about how pharmacists are being asked to manage this switch from prescription to pharmacy supply.

ED may occur for a number of reasons; one of the major causes is the development of underlying cardiovascular disease.1,2 Identifying these men as early as possible provides a good opportunity not only to deal with their ED but also the underlying cause(s) of their ED.

As part of the supply process, pharmacists will ask patients a series of questions to determine suitability. These questions are shown in the VIAGRA connect Checklist. The Checklist includes two tear-off slips. One slip is for patients who are suitable and the other is for men who are considered unsuitable by the pharmacist.

Those patients who are deemed suitable for VIAGRA connect will be directed to see you for follow up within 6 months of first supply. The slip, which will be signed and dated by the pharmacist, can act as a reminder of this date. The referral to you is intended so that you can assess the underlying causes of their ED. This will also allow you to review any other health problems as part of the consultation. Although suitable for VIAGRA connect, some men may not respond to treatment and these too will be referred to you so you can assess them and provide possible alternative treatments for their ED.

Men who are considered unsuitable for the product will be directed to you by the pharmacist to discuss alternative options. The pharmacist may consider a man unsuitable due to his cardiovascular health, concomitant medication and/or concomitant conditions. The pharmacist will write this reason onto the slip to facilitate the man's ED conversation with you, making it easier for him to continue his journey. For more information on how pharmacists will manage these men, click here

As a result of this increased pharmacy interaction you may begin to see an increase in patient referrals.

The link between ED and cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Understand the link between ED and CVD by watching this short animation

Duration 01:42

Acting to help reduce cardiovascular risk

Discover what can help reduce cardiovascular risk by watching this short animation

Duration 01:36

Assessing fitness for sex in men with ED symptoms

Be clear on how to establish fitness for sex in men with ED symptoms by watching this short animation

Duration 02:22


  1. Miner M. J Androl 2011;32:125–134.
  2. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Erectile dysfunction. Accessed Jun 2017.