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Irish men are popping millions of Viagra pills a year, but do they really need it?

DailyEdge.ie spoke to a sex therapist to find out.

NEW FIGURES SHOW that the HSE has spent nearly €57 million (approximately €9.5 million per year) on Viagra in the last six years.

According to the Irish Mirror yesterday, the health service has paid for 167 million pills since 2009, mostly for medical card holders.

But what’s the cause of all this? Are Irish men really taking that much Viagra? We investigated.

Is this number as high as it seems to be?

Viagra_Tablette Source: Wikimedia

Speaking to DailyEdge.ie, psychosexual therapist Nuala Deering said no, not really.

The problem is quite common – 25% of men worldwide suffer from erectile dysfunction, so if you look at that over a lifetime, that’s a lot of men.

Considering in 2014 alone, Pfizer made over a billion dollars from the sale of Viagra, it’s a very small percentage of the overall sales worldwide.

Why are so many Irish men seemingly taking Viagra, though?

tumblr_m9bqmk4F8Q1rxpi1io1_500 Source: lacigreen.tumblr.com

Well, there are a variety of reasons for erectile dysfunction – psychological issues (stress, anxiety and performance pressure); medical issues (heart problems, hormonal issues, diabetes, and side effects from prescribed medication) and as well as the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Deering believes that the reason for the high spend on the drug here could be because it’s handed out to some men as a quick fix, rather than a long-term solution:

I definitely have come across that with young men, and it’s worrying if the only option for a young man is to take Viagra. I agree that every man should go to see his GP to rule out any medical problems, however.

What should be done about it then?

Counterfeit goods seizures Source: PA WIRE

Deering said that GPs work should closely with therapists to examine the psychological issues behind erectile dysfunction.

“If GPs had more of a link with psychosexual therapists, it would work better in the long term for the HSE as well,” Deering said. “The money could be spent more effectively on prescribing Viagra, but also looking at the underlying problems.”

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