Getting Viagra on the NHS

Viagra is an approved treatment that is available on the NHS, but getting Viagra on the NHS is not so straightforward.

Erectile dysfunction is a health condition like any other, so why is it difficult to get an NHS prescription for Viagra?

Find out if you are eligible to get Viagra on the NHS, and what to do if you’re not.

Last reviewed: 19/07/2021 by Dr Babak Ashrafi

Contents

Does the NHS offer Viagra?

Yes, the NHS offers Viagra on prescription to some men who have erectile dysfunction, in exceptional circumstances. In most cases, the NHS offers a medication called Sildenafil as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil is a generic version of Viagra which works in the exact same way, but is available at a lower cost. The NHS offers Sildenafil instead of Viagra as it is cheaper to do so, and is just as effective.

How does Viagra on the NHS work?

Getting Viagra on the NHS is not that different from most other treatments. The main difference is if you’re not eligible for a NHS prescription for Viagra, you’ll be offered a private one instead.

Getting Viagra on NHS prescription

Getting a prescription for Viagra on the NHS works the same way as other treatments:

  1. Book an appointment with your GP
  2. Discuss your experience of not being able to get and keep erections
  3. If you’re eligible for an NHS prescription they will give you one
  4. You can get your prescription filled at most UK pharmacies

There’s a few things to note about getting NHS prescriptions for Viagra:

  • You only pay the standard prescription fee of £9.35 (cheaper than buying elsewhere)
  • Only people with certain health conditions will be given an NHS prescription
  • In most cases you will only be prescribed one pill per week (4 pills per month), although GP’s are able to prescribe more on the NHS if they feel this is appropriate
  • You can use a prescription prepayment card (PPC) with an NHS prescription for Viagra

If you do not pay for your prescriptions on the NHS for whatever reason then Viagra can be free for you, as long as you meet the criteria for an NHS prescription for Viagra.

Getting a private prescription

This works in the same way as getting an NHS prescription, except you pay full price for your medication:

  1. Book an appointment with your GP
  2. Discuss your experience of not being able to get and keep erections
  3. If you’re not eligible for an NHS prescription, they can offer you a private prescription instead
  4. You can get your prescription filled at most UK pharmacies

You can also get a private prescription for Viagra from private healthcare providers without needing to see your GP first. For example, you can get a private prescription for Viagra online with Superdrug, and have the medication delivered to your door

Can I get other erectile dysfunction medications on the NHS?

Like Viagra, other PDE-5 inhibitors licensed for treating erectile dysfunction in the UK can only be bought with a private prescription. They include:

These Viagra alternatives all work slightly differently and some work better than others for different people.

The generic version of Viagra, Sildenafil, can be prescribed with an NHS prescription for anyone who meets the criteria for erectile dysfunction treatment. It can also be ordered online with a free online assessment and to-your-door delivery from an online doctor service.

See our page on the NHS and Erectile Dysfunction Treatment for more info on treatments offered on the NHS.

Can I get Viagra on the NHS?

You can only get an NHS prescription for Viagra if you have one of a specific set of health conditions outlined in NHS prescribing guidelines.

Due to legislation from the UK government, the NHS has to restrict who it can give NHS prescriptions for Viagra to. Although Viagra can improve erectile dysfunction in a lot of men, regardless of any other health conditions, the NHS will only give an NHS prescription for Viagra to men:

  • With:
    • Diabetes
      • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
        • Parkinson’s disease
          • Polio
            • Prostate cancer
              • Spina bifida
                • A spinal cord injury
                  • Certain genetic conditions, such as Huntington’s disease
                  • Or who’ve had:
                    • A major pelvic surgery, such as surgery to remove tumours
                      • Removal of their prostate (prostatectomy)
                        • Recent dialysis or a kidney transplant for kidney failure

                        The only other reason the NHS would give someone an NHS prescription for Viagra is if their erectile dysfunction is causing them serious distress. The factors used to tell whether you are severely distressed by your erectile dysfunction are if it causes:

                        • Significant disruption to normal social and occupational activity” – your thoughts and feelings about your erectile dysfunction are affecting your work or social life
                        • Marked effect on mood, behaviour, social and environmental awareness” – your thoughts and feelings about your erectile dysfunction are changing the way you feel, behave, and see the world in very a negative way
                        • Marked effect on interpersonal relationships” – your thoughts and feelings about your erectile dysfunction are damaging your personal relationships

                        Although branded Viagra is not available for NHS prescriptions for the majority of patients, the unbranded generic version, Sildenafil, does not have the same prescribing restrictions.

                        Your GP can’t assess you for this themselves, they will have to refer you to a specialist who can give you an assessment for erectile dysfunction-related distress. If you think this applies to you, you can talk to your GP about getting a referral.

                        Does the NHS offer Viagra for women?

                        No, the NHS does not offer Viagra for women. It also does not offer any other medications for sexual dysfunction in women.

                        Since there are no medications approved for treating sexual dysfunction in the UK, neither the NHS nor any other healthcare provider can offer a female equivalent of Viagra.

                        See our page on Viagra for Women for more information.

                        What Viagra safety information does the NHS offer?

                        Viagra is approved for treatment in the UK and offered by the NHS because it is a safe and effective treatment for most people. Treatment for erectile dysfunction is also part of NICE treatment guidelines that the NHS work to.

                        On the nhs.uk page on Viagra, they provide the following safety information:

                        • Who can and can’t use it
                        • What to do if you take too much
                        • Common and serious side effects of Viagra
                        • Signs of an allergic reaction
                        • Pregnancy and breastfeeding advice
                        • Information on drug interactions

                        Detailed safety information on Viagra is available in this online patient information leaflet, which is also included inside Viagra packaging.

                        Sources

                        Can I get medication for erectile dysfunction (ED) on the NHS? (2016) NHS [accessed 04 August 2020 ]

                        Changes to the prescribing regulations for generic sildenafil for erectile dysfunction (2014) NYHCSU Medicines Management Team for Vale of York CCG [accessed 1 April 2020]