Italian chemists pick Viagra as weapon in war against reforms

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The Independent Online

"Hard times for us – no Viagra for you," read the banners held by protesting pharmacists in Rome this week.

As the Monti government tries to dismantle the myriad vested interests smothering the Italian economy, chemists are among those fighting to keep things uncompetitive in their sector.

And hospital pharmacists in the capital have decided, symbolically, to hit a government dominated by old, grey-haired men where it hurts by threatening to stop dispensing the little blue pill. The protesting state pharmacists claim that private dispensers will be favoured by Mario Monti's reforms.

The request for a rethink on the liberalisation plans was sent by the union Sinafo in a letter to Mr Monti and his Health Minister Renato Balduzzi. "If our demands are not met, on 30 April we will announce the Viagra strike," the union said.

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