Health problem could be symptom of underlying issue

2015-09-09 06:00

WHILE more than four in ten South African men older than 40 suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), only 15% seek treatment and even fewer fill their prescriptions.

This is according to Pharma Dynamics – a leading supplier of top-of-the-range generic ED medication in South Africa.

Tumi Motsei, spokesperson, says the reasons why South African men do not fill their ED prescriptions include the perception around price and that counterfeit ED drugs are readily available online.

“However, it’s more likely that men are just too bashful about the condition. No red-blooded South African man would want to admit – even to a pharmacist – that they are in need of a little extra help in the bedroom,” says Motsei.

He says since the introduction of generic ED drugs in South Africa in 2013, which effectively halved the selling price per tablet (compared to that of the brand name equivalent), total category sales have only increased by a meagre 4%.

According to Motsei the undertreatment could largely be as a result of patients getting a prescription, but not filling it at the pharmacy.

“Among the complaints from South African users have been the limited number of tablets sold per pack, which meant patients had to face the pharmacist (and the queue of possible neighbours and acquaintances) on a weekly basis for their dose of ‘ecstasy’.

“In some cases men would travel long distances to fill a script, because they do not want others to know about their condition.”

Motsei says the good news is the introduction of a Sildenafil mega-pack to the South African market.

“Typically only two to four pills are dispensed per pack in this category, per pharmacy visit – the mega-pack now gives men the option of 12 pills per pack at an affordable rate.

“Erectile dysfunction used to be thought of as an old man’s disease, but nowadays the condition is becoming more commonplace among younger men too. About a quarter of men complaining of ED are younger than 40.”

Motsei cautions that about 80% of cases of ED are linked to chronic diseases of lifestyle such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, which are often caused by lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking or drinking alcohol.

“Erectile dysfunction itself may be a symptom of other underlying health issues, so it is advisable that men suffering from impotence ask their doctor for a thorough physical examination.”

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