The consumption during those years was up 110%. The number of users reflects the rise in the number of people who have begun using these drugs. The consumption percentage reflects the increase in the amount of medications sold.
Asking secretary for prescription
The different erectile dysfunction drugs (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra) are not included on State-funded "health basket" and cost about NIS 150 ($45) per pack. In spite of the high price, the number of consumers of these medications is on the rise.
"People have realized that there are accessible solutions and they turn to them, and that's why I believe we are seeing a rise in the consumption of these drugs," says Dr. Varda Shalev, a practicing family physician.
"In the past, people were ashamed to ask for the prescription. They basically 'danced on the chair' and felt great discomfort turning to their doctor for it. But in the past few years people are talking about it more openly and the patients have begun viewing it as a chronic medication for all intents and purposes."
Dr. Shalev says her patients even feel comfortable turning asking her secretary to extend their prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs.
In the past year there have been attempts to include the erectile dysfunction drugs in the "health basket" for prostate gland cancer patients, who suffer from impotence due to the disease. Dr. Shalev believes that one step forward should be taken and that the drugs should be included on the list for all patients suffering from impotence.
"I view them as a medication like any other," she explains, "just like pain medications or antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. The goal of these drugs is also to provide a quality of life, and there must be equality here between the patients, so that even those who can't afford it will be able to use them."
Dr. Shalev says she prescribes erectile dysfunction drugs not just to adults with chronic diseases, but also to newly divorced men, who feel the need to boost their self-confidence before meeting new women. Another group which receives the prescription is men aged 45-50 who seek to change their sexual routine.
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