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Removal of prescribing restrictions for generic sildenafil

On 1st August 2014 legislation came into effect removing prescribing restrictions for sildenafil.

Prescribing of drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) was restricted nationally (SLS list) on the grounds of cost to the NHS.

This restriction for generic sildenafil has now been removed as a consequence of the Viagra® patent expiry and generic sildenafil preparations now being available much more cheaply.

This only applies to prescriptions for generic sildenafil. Prescribing restrictions are still in place for other ED treatments.

As a result of this patients who have been prescribed sildenafil privately because they did not previously meet the SLS criteria will now be eligible to be prescribed generic sildenafil on the NHS. NHS prescriptions for generic sildenafil no longer require the ‘SLS’ annotation.

Patients who are prescribed other treatments for ED must still meet the SLS criteria (see BNF section 7.4.5). For patients who do not meet SLS criteria for the other ED drugs the facility to prescribe privately still exists.

When prescribing generic sildenafil please consider that sildenafil does have a ‘street value’ and quantities should be agreed after a discussion with the patient assessing realistic needs. Excessive prescribing could lead to unlicensed, unauthorised and possibly dangerous use of these treatments.