According to the research of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), 150,000 men use the drugs for erectile dysfunction in the Netherlands. However, only 45,000 men are prescribed to use it by the doctors. It means that about 70% of the pills used in the Netherlands are illegally obtained.
Some men use Viagra if they are under the influence of drugs. “The illegal trade goes through various ways:” – explains Ruud Coolen van Brakel, Director of the Institute for Responsible Medicine, – “from under the counter to via the internet. The pills are available in many different places.”
The most popular under the counter pill is Kamagra.
Young men cannot receive a legal prescription for Viagra with the GP, especially when it comes to recreational use. Men must really be able to demonstrate to the doctor that they suffer from erectile dysfunction. “There are the pills you don’t have to ask for, but illegal use is very dangerous. A doctor can tell you that it is harmful to you” – confirms GP Robert Mol. – “When I was younger, I often wrote up a prescription only four pills.” He regrets that Viagra has become more popular among young men.
Doctor Robert Mol believes that Viagra should be legally sold at the pharmacies, so people do not have to visit GPs. “If the medications like Brufen and Diclofenac can be obtained in free sales, I think Viagra should also be sold over the counter.”
The Institute for Responsible Medicine Use also pleads for free sales citing many advantages. The spokesman says: “Free sales can counteract illegal sales, reduce the health risks due to fake medication, reduce the stress of buying for men who are ashamed to ask for the prescription.”
Five years ago, the Institute advocated for free sales, but nothing changed.
Illegally bought medicines involve risks beyond the usual ones because they are unreliable. The risk includes expired shelf life and impure raw materials. These risks can be increased by using alcohol or drugs and hurt the user’s health,” says a spokesman for the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment.
The Dutch Family Practitioner (NHG) is against the sale of erectile pills without a doctor’s prescription by the pharmacy. Peter Leusink, from the NHG Expert Group on Sexual Health, asks: “Who then oversees the responsible use of an erection pill?An erection pill may be dangerous for men who had a recent stroke or heart attack or men on certain medication for narrowed coronary arteries.”
Common side effects of Kamagra are a headache and bleeding. Less frequent side effects include dizziness, vomiting and blurred vision.
According to Peter Leusink, doctors have to ensure that men in the risk group do not use the drug. He says: “The medicine will work best with qualified advice and supervision because it is not a cure and needs to be taken again and again.”
Although Leusink says that the pills are safe, he advises young people not to use it. Sildenafil is not meant for recreational use and can cause more harm than good. The research shows that young men who take Sildenafil for recreational use can lose healthy erection later on. But if they do, then it is a big problem. The side effects are minimal and short-lived.
A seller of Kamagra pills says that he is seeing an increase in the number of youngsters buying it. He says: “Recently many young men buy Kamagra. The pill costs from 5 to 10 euros each depending on how much they buy.” He tells that there are several reasons why people buy Viagra: “I have a regular client who does not like his girlfriend, but others want to experiment.”
Experiment … and fun
Peter also wanted to experiment: “I just wanted more fun.” He has tried the pill three times. He says: “I thought I could go for hours, and even after the orgasm I could continue. You still have an erection that does not go away …”