Photo: Up to 70 per cent of men with erectile dysfunction do not go to the doctor for treatment. (Flickr: Mic445) A type of Viagra will be made available without prescription in the United Kingdom, and some experts say Australia needs to consider doing the same. Dr Nial Wheate, a senior lecturer from the University of Sydney, said it could reduce the number of people buying counterfeit versions of Viagra — which can be dangerous to consumers. "One of the things we need to ask ourselves in Australia is, should we be doing this ourselves?" he said. Dr Wheate said many men who are unable to obtain a prescription turn to the internet or sex shops to buy the erectile dysfunction medication. "Being able to make it available in Australia through pharmacies will help to mitigate that risk," he said. He said one of the risks was illegitimate internet pharmacies, with studies showing there are up to 1,800 in existence online. They can sell tablets with either not enough, or too much, of the active ingredient in Viagra. Dr Wheate said there were also reports of some counterfeit tablets containing blue printer ink to give them a genuine Viagra look. "Viagra is the most counterfeited medicine throughout the world," he said. "At the moment the counterfeit drug market is about $75 billion and Viagra makes up a lot of that." Photo: To the untrained eye the counterfeit Viagra, top, is difficult to discern from the real thing. (ABC News) Why not just go to a GP and get a prescription? Dr Wheate said there were a number logistical reasons that could prevent men from visiting a GP. "The first obvious one is that there are no GP services in their area, or the wait list might be too long," he said. "It might also be because the prescriptions tend to be for very low amounts as well. "Viagra is dispensed at only four tablets at a time and some men might feel that this isn't suitable for their needs, or their partner's needs as well — and therefore they might try to supplement that by buying online." Dr Shane Jackson, the national president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, said up to 70 per cent of men with erectile dysfunction did not go to the doctor for treatment.