Are Medications for treatment of Erectile Dysfunction on the Red list (or not)?

GP practices and Specialists frequently ask for clarification on the status of medicines for erectile dysfunction.

The entry on the Red Amber list reads as ‘Red – Severe distress caused by impotence’.

Two Department of Health Circulars provide guidance on circumstances when GPs can prescribe under ‘S11’ regulations, and when they should not. (HSS(PCCD) 18/99 and HSS(SC) 2/99).

In circumstances where GPs can prescribe, the medicines are not classified at all (neither Red nor Amber). Examples from the Circular of such causes of impotence include: diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, poliomyelitis, prostate cancer, prostatectomy, radical pelvic surgery, renal failure treated with dialysis or transplant, single gene neurological disease, spinal cord injury, spina bifida.

The Circulars use the term ‘Severe distress’ as a category to describe those circumstances where the GP should not prescribe. In those circumstances, the medicines are considered Red list.

When you are reviewing a request to supply, it may be useful to refer to the list of conditions described above, and if the patient does not have any of the conditions listed, then further investigate whether supply should be made via secondary care.