Italian pharmacists threaten to halt Viagra sales

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MILAN (AP) — Hospital pharmacists are threatening to cut Italians off from their Viagra unless the government amends its plans to reform professions that have high entry barriers.

Union official Loredana Vasselli said pharmacists decided to focus the protest on Viagra because it is a sought-after drug whose absence "does not put patients' health at risk."

Pharmacists will stage a series of labor actions during April, culminating with the so-called "Viagra strike" if their complaints are not redressed.

One group protested Thursday outside Parliament under the banner "No Viagra, No Party."

Hospital pharmacists, part of Italy's public health care system, say Premier Mario Monti's economic liberalization plan is unfair because it gives private pharmacists preference for new licenses. The reform calls for opening 5,000 new pharmacies.

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