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Cure for baldness will not be available on NHS

THE ANTI-BALDNESS cure Propecia will not be available on the National Health Service when it is launched in the United Kingdom next year.

The Government has agreed to a request from the manufacturers, Merck Sharpe and Dohme, that it be put on the blacklist of drugs that GPs cannot prescribe on the NHS. The move follows the ruling earlier this year that Viagra can only be prescribed to men with certain conditions on the NHS and that all others must obtain it privately.

Merck Sharpe and Dohme has said it would be "inappropriate" for the drug to be made available on the NHS when it ws not paid for by the health service in any of the 38 countries where it already has licences.

An estimated 800,000 men around the world are said to be using Propecia, which is expected to cost around pounds 25 for a month's supply in Britain. Its active ingredient - finasteride - is already available here, as Prosca, to treat enlarged prostate glands. It was men being treated for prostate problems who first reported its welcome side-effect.