Argentina begins doling out free 'Viagra'

Argentina has begun distributing a free state-produced version of the erection-boosting drug Viagra for the first time, in a move intended to curb its misuse, health authorities announced Thursday.

They said 200,000 doses of sildenafil, better known under the Viagra brand name, is to be distributed free of charge through the public health network of the province of Santa Fe.

The drug is being produced in Santa Fe by the state-owned LIFSE, which plans to eventually distributed it nationally.

Sildenafil is a hugely popular vasodilator that is used to treat erectile dysfunction in men.

"The most famous medication in the world for improving the quality of life—even though no-one is going to lose their life over it—is the first to be made by the state in Argentina," said Guillermo Cleti, a LIFSE director.

"It's not only to attend to erectile dysfunction in men who need it, but also to avoid the abuse or bad use of the drug and to warn the population about its correct use," he said.

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