Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Viagra-style drug 'sold illegally' at Southampton 'legal high' shop

HedHigh in Southampton has been selling Kamagra - an imported drug for erectile dysfunction - to customers over-the-counter.
Image caption HedHigh has been selling Kamagra to customers over the counter

An unlicensed Viagra-style drug is being sold illegally at a shop in Hampshire, a BBC investigation has found.

HedHigh in St Mary's Road, Southampton, has been selling Kamagra - an imported drug for erectile dysfunction - to customers over the counter.

These types of drugs are only allowed to be sold on prescription in the UK.

Kamagra, which contains sildenafil citrate that is also found in Viagra, is not licensed or regulated in the UK.

Experts at Reading University tested the product and found it contained double the dose of sildenafil citrate prescribed legally by doctors.

Image caption Kamagra is an imported drug for erectile dysfunction and is not licensed or regulated in the UK

Prof Laurence Marius Harwood said: "There's quite a lot more in one of those sachets than in the [Viagra] pill. The pills generally contain about 50 milligrams, the sachets contain twice as much. It's twice as strong."

During secret filming, a shop worker at HedHigh sold a BBC reporter the product for £10 and told him it was a "legal high".

"And it's completely like…legit? I guess it's been tested…" the reporter said.

"Yep, yep, of course," the shop worker said.

Image caption A shop worker at HedHigh told a BBC undercover reporter Kamagra is a legal high

Alastair Jeffrey, head of enforcement at Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: "It's concerning to see a medicine, which is an unlicensed medicine, on display in a shop, which somebody could just come in and buy.

"You really don't know where this medicine has come from, you don't know how it's been stored.

"It's a powerful medicine, it should only be prescribed, and here it is on sale, visibly in a shop. That's not good, that's terrible."

'Could die'

In some cases, doctors warn, the product could be fatal.

"Worst-case scenario, you could be on certain blood pressure medication, and you combine it with sildenafil and your blood pressure could drop catastrophically, and potentially you could even die," said Dr Richard Roope, from The Whiteley Surgery, Fareham.

"It's not people that are interested in your health, it's people that are interested in taking your money," Mr Jeffrey said of those supplying the product.

Anyone supplying Kamagra in the UK is "committing serious offences under the human medicines regulations and you can go to prison for two years, or you can be given an unlimited fine," he warned.

HedHigh has failed to respond to multiple requests by the BBC for comment.

BBC South revisited the shop with a camera crew and not undercover.

When asked why Kamagra had been sold, another shop worker said: "I've never sold that."

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