Valentine's Day Is Viagra Day in the U.K.

ByABC News
February 13, 2007, 8:37 PM

Feb. 14, 2007 — -- This should put a quick end to many British men's fantasies of celebrating Valentine's Day with a night of superhuman sex. Despite rumors to the contrary, Viagra will not be distributed over the counter in England, not on Valentine's Day, nor on any other day.

That is according to the British Department of Health, which is desperately trying to squash the rumor started by the High Street pharmacy chain Boots. The pharmacy chain announced it would sell Viagra without prescriptions starting on Wednesday, the day love is traditionally celebrated across the Western world.

But Viagra remains a prescription drug in the United Kingdom, and the Department of Health is categorical about keeping it that way.

The misleading rumor started after Boots announced a six-month pilot program in which pharmacists in three of its Manchester stores would run consultation sanctioning the sale of Viagra in its stores, where until then, only a certified general practitioner's prescription could grant access to the drug. If successful, the operation would extend to Boots stores across the United Kingdom.

In practice, it will be virtually impossible for Manchester residents looking for a long night on the town to bypass the law by just walking into their local Boots. An initial screening will weed out men not fitting the required 30 to 65 age category, and the 45-minute to hour-long consultation, by appointment only, will be conducted by pharmacists with five years of training. After the patient's full medical history is reviewed, his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels checked, he will have to go through the ordeal of detailing his symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction (ED). "We would have to decide that the patient is actually suffering from his erectile dysfunction to dispense the drug," explains Boots spokesperson Claire Stafford. Lastly, the patient will still have to be registered with a general practitioner.