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Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

Health Check: Science created Prozac but marketing made it sing

I AM a fan of Prozac, but some of the adulatory stuff that I have read marking its tenth anniversary sticks in the craw. Prozac is an excellent drug because it works and - far more important, this - because the publicity around it has persuaded many extra thousands among the legions of the depressed to do something about their misery.

Real People: Uppers and downers

Viagra as a recreational drug? Some clubbers will try just about anything, discovers Tobias Jones

Hard luck - Viagra can cause impotence

FOR THE normal, sexually active man, Viagra has a nasty potential side-effect: it can cause permanent impotence, according to one specialist.

Letter: Below the belt

Sir: I hope that Margaret Lye's "packet" of fish and chips (letter, 26 January) is particularly tasty and succulent if it is costing her the price of a single tablet of Viagra (reported to be about pounds 5). None of us should forget to digest the fact that Viagra's cost puts it beyond the means of many hundreds of thousands of individuals, at least for any regular use; perhaps Ms Lye thinks her fellow citizens should only have sex annually?

Letter: Viagra rationed

Sir: Doctors have been part of an implicit rationing process since the NHS began, and the British Medical Association has been eager to involve the public and the Government in a debate about explicit rationing for years. What we have never done - as your leading article of 23 January misleadingly alleges - is to supply drugs "to everyone who thinks they may need" them. As you rightly suppose, this would bankrupt the NHS.

Sex! Sex! Sex! And sex!

SEX! WITH a stranger! I suppose Greg Cordell and Carla Germaine have had sex by now. I mean had sex together. There's surely no way that two people who were "saving themselves" would then have taken part in a "blind date marriage" arranged by a local radio station. But marital sex with a stranger. That must be a first for them. How civilisation advances.

Right of Reply: Jonathan Reggler

A member of the British Medical Association's general practitioner committee responds to a leader on Viagra

Women will be wanting orgasms next

I ONCE MET a woman who confided, over dinner, that she had not had an orgasm until she was nearly 40. There was nothing unusual about her story, just a note of regret in her voice that she had had to wait so long. She had never consulted a doctor about it, assuming that her GP would not regard it as a medical problem or that she had had bad luck with men, a circumstance which clearly fell outside his remit. Not any longer: on Friday, the demand for orgasms on the NHS reached a deafening crescendo, with doctors suddenly discovering that a full sex life is vital to health.

The News: The Tonight's headlines again ... and again ... and again

Trevor McDonald, Jon Snow, Peter Sissons: familiar faces, almost members of the family. But even credit anoraks don't know the editors who take the decisions about what Trevor, Jon or Peter are going to tell us, or what they do.

Letter: Sex rations

Sir: The current fuss about prescribing Viagra on the NHS ("Viagra rules ration sex to once a week on NHS", 22 January) is simply diverting attention away from the real problem in health care, the issue of rationing.

Leading Article: The brave new world of the health service

PERHAPS THE 1990s will go down in history as the Happy Decade: this week, the makers of Prozac celebrated the 10th anniversary of the launch of the new, improved anti-depressant. It might also be remembered as the decade in which the rationing of healthcare started in Britain. The Pharmacological Revolution brought us Prozac and the other new wonder- drugs like Viagra - for which Frank Dobson announced the rations this week - and promises chemical treatments for Alzheimer's disease, obesity and ageing in the near future. But it also makes the choices facing the National Health Service starker than ever before. So long as the frontiers of medicine were being pushed forward primarily by surgeons, it was easier to conceal the process of rationing in the system of waiting lists. Economists call it "rationing by queueing": it has the presentational advantage that it does not look like rationing, because everyone in the queue will get their turn if they wait long enough. In that sense, the NHS has rationed healthcare since it was founded in 1948.

GP told to foot bill for Viagra

A FAMILY doctor who prescribed Viagra to a patient on the NHS has been told by his health authority to pay the full cost - or have it deducted from his pay.

Doctors vow to meet Viagra demand

WHAT HAS most angered doctors about Frank Dobson's decision to restrict prescribing of Viagra is the suggestion that impotence is not a serious problem and that men who want sex should pay for the treatment.

Viagra rules limit sex to once a week on NHS

THE NHS will pay for sex once a week - but only for a narrowly defined group of men with serious disabilities, Frank Dobson, the 58-year- old Health Secretary, announced.

Viagra link to five UK deaths UK

VIAGRA, THE anti-impotence treatment that is still officially banned on the NHS, has been linked with five deaths in the UK in the past six months.
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