There has been a recent development in community pharmacy that may divide opinion amongst readers, as well as amongst medical professionals. That is the launch of the over-the-counter version of the most well-known of the male impotence drugs Viagra.

Since it’s development and introduction onto the prescription market back in 1998, us pharmacists have had to suffer jokes about being able to ‘get it over-the- counter’ but now it’s a reality.

The imaginatively named Viagra Connect is now available and there were a few aspects of it’s marketing that concerned me. Firstly, the adverts won’t say that you can’t just ask for a pack from off the shelf without having to be asked a series of eligibility questions. They like to leave that bit up to us. Secondly, it is only available in one strength, which may not be the appropriate strength for the patient.

Thirdly, the

American firm Pfizer who make the drug are hardly famous for their benevolence, so these tablets won’t be cheap at roughly £5 per tablet.

Increasing the accessibility of the tablets, will hopefully lead to fewer people buying them online and abroad from questionable sources. I once had a patient ask me what I thought of some tablets he had bought in Egypt. The fact that the packaging looked like it had been designed by my two-year old and the tablets were the size and irregular shape of a Brazil nut suggested that there was a possibility that they wouldn’t have the desired effect.

We have decided to provide our own solution which we feel will give patients access to the options they need, with a more structured consultation process and fairer price. I will be able to provide all available strengths of the three main oral medications in the category (Sildenafil, Tadalafil and Vardenafil).

It will

please the patient (and me) to know that a physical examination is not part of the consultation, although as always, not every patient will be suitable for supply without seeing their GP. It is important to remember that we have provided these medications on prescription for many years, so are aware of the importance of discretion.

What’s in a name?

I’m currently in my 13th year at Allison’s and those of you who know me will probably see me as part of the furniture by now.

Many of you will know me by name and if my memory is operational when you come in, then I may well remember yours. A couple of staff were having a giggle the other day when a customer was referring to me as Rab during a conversation. Now I do quite like a trip to Glasgow but I’ll draw the line at a string vest and a headband. Over the years, I’ve gotten quite used to being called Matt but of late, there has been Zac, Nick, Ned and the girls reckon Nit but I’m not sure they’re not making that up.

We do have a patient that often recreates the Only Fools and Horses scenes where Trigger insists on calling Rodney ‘Dave’ even after Rodney’s lengthy explanation that he wasn’t called Dave. Now I just answer to Nick as it saves time.

Would’ve gotten less for murder!

Last month saw Carolyn ‘celebrate’ 30 years at Allison’s. There were a few sarcastic comments in the shop at the sight of balloons with the number 30 on them and that they didn’t know helium lasted that long if they were for someone’s birthday!

Carolyn joined Allison’s pretty much straight from school and has become a tremendous asset to us and has never wavered during any of the challenges we have faced along the way. Well this is what they tell me as I was only a young child when she started.


FREE Prescription Collection and Delivery Available

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31 Main Street, Cockermouth CA13 9LE Monday to Friday: 8.30am - 6.00pm and Saturday: 8.30am - 4.00pm | 01900 822 292 ISSUE 425 | 26 APRIL 2018 | 15

GOING SOMEWHERE? • Cholera (2)

Our trained pharmacist can administer your travel vaccines* and antimalarials* including: £25 • Rabies (3)

• Diphtheria Tetanus & Polio (1) £30 • Hepatitis A (1) • Hepatitis B (3)

• Japanese Encephalitis (2) • Meningitis ACWY (1)

£40 £30

£85 • Tick Borne Encephalitis (3) £50 • Typhoid (1)

Generic Malarone (Atovaquone/Proguanil) just £2 per tablet Doxycycline just 20p per capsule

We also vaccinate against: Meningitis B (from 2 years old) – 2 doses at £100 per dose

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in both boys and girls – number of doses depends on age. £140 per dose. Chickenpox – 2 doses at £60 per dose MMR – 2 doses at £40 per dose. Shingles – 1 dose at £150

Available to eligible patients aged 40-74 and includes cholesterol check Please get in touch to see if you are eligible and to make an appointment

FREE NHS HEALTH CHECKS Eligible patients include those who have NOT been diagnosed with:

• Stroke • Heart Disease (including high blood pressure) • Diabetes

• Kidney Disease And have not had a health check in the last 5 years.

For those not eligible we have a blood pressure and cholesterol check for just £10 NEW PRIVATE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION SERVICE

Discreet service provided by our trained pharmacist for eligible patients without the need for a prescription


Due to the supplier price changes, our rabies vaccine has increased slightly. We intend to return to the old price when supply stabilises

£60 £30

The number in brackets is the number of doses needed and the price is per dose Antimalarials

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