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Viagra: get it now!

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12:28 CEST+02:00
For a short time the anti-impotence drugs Viagra and Cialis are available at a subsidised rate, despite protests from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Board (Läkemedelsförmånsnämnden or LFN). Following the outcome of a case brought by Pfizer to have the drugs reintroduced into the package of subsidised medicines, the County Court decided that for certain groups of men with erectile problems the drug should be made available again at the cheaper rate.

LFN appealed immediately but until the appeal is heard Viagra and Cialis will be available at the lower, subsidised rate.

That's good news for Magnus Sjöblom who told Aftonbladet that he's had to spend 18,000 crowns out of his own pocket on Viagra.

"I've remarried now, and without Viagra that would not have been possible," he told the paper. "Sexuality is a human right".

The battle for cheap impotence drugs has been raging in Sweden for the last five years. Viagra and Cialis, were taken out of the subsidised drug package by the government in 2001 "for cost reasons". According to the Association of County Councils, Viagra was costing the Swedish tax payer some 15 million crowns per month following its introduction in 1998.

It was still possible to ask for special dispensation up until October 2002, but when that loophole was closed the sales of the impotence drug flopped, and Pfizer went to court to have it returned to the package.

LFN argued that erectile problems are less serious than other illnesses and that they were hard to diagnose anyway. But the County Court's decision will allow men whose potency dysfunction is caused by illnesses such as diabetes or back problems to be covered by the high cost protection law - meaning that in these cases the maximum annual cost would never exceed 1800 crowns.

If you want to exploit the new loophole, you'll have stock up on Viagra now - the appeal will be heard within the next fourteen days, after which the price could go straight up again.

Kelloggs was forced to take out a full-page ad in the evening papers this week to counter claims about the dangers of eating breakfast cereals enriched by vitamins and minerals. The scare began with the Danish Food Agency's decision to stop the sale of breakfast cereals, arguing that an overdose of minerals and vitamins could damage kidneys and liver, and that pregnant women who eat too much cereal could damage their unborn child.

Young children were also in danger, according to the Danish Food Agency. However, its Swedish equivalent has stated that it does not share the Danish view and that it believes that eating cereals carries no risks.

Nevertheless, there was more trouble to come for Kelloggs. On Wednesday the company was forced to recall incorrectly-marked packets of its 'Extra Fruit' cereal. A variety of the product contains hazelnut and chocolate but these were not listed in the ingredients.

"The cereal can therefore be a deadly hazard for anyone with a nut allergy," Expressen pointed out, before noting that 600 kg of the cereal was recalled.

Finally, researchers have discovered that every third Swede carries the ApoE4 gene that increases the risk for dementia. At the same time, the bearer of this gene seems extra sensitive to alcohol.

"We have found that the risk for Alzheimers increases the more you drink", said researcher Miia Kivipelto to Aftonbladet. Carriers of the gene have double the risk of suffering dementia compared to others, and in combination with alcohol the risk increases sevenfold.

Lysanne Sizoo

Lysanne Sizoo is a certified Counsellor, specialising in bereavement, fertility and cultural assimilation issues. She also runs a support and discussion group for English speaking women. You can contact her on sizoo@swipnet.se, or 08 717 3769. More information on www.sizoo.nu.

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