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Ovation: Pfizer To Sell Viagra Online.

05/07/2013

viagrapills-webLike most who communicate electronically, I get a lot of SPAM or “junk email”.  It seems that no matter what programs I install or rules I create the “spammers” are always thinking of new and creative ways to get their message into my InBox.  Even at the office, where we have state-of-the-art privacy and virus protection, we still get SPAM.  It appears to me that an unusually large percentage of this unwanted email is coming from someone who wants to sell me pills.

Just today I’ve had offers of Levitra, Prozac, Celebrex, Seroquel, Zetia, Prednisolone and Viagra.  As one who consistently tries to hide laxatives beneath the produce at the check-out counter, I can understand why someone combating baldness, constipation or menopause might not want to make a personal appearance at his or her pharmacy.  Perhaps buying their medication online relieves them of some embarrassment.

Men who are bashful about needing help in the bedroom no longer have to go to the drugstore to buy Viagra.  Pfizer, the drug maker responsible for the little blue, diamond-shaped pills, will begin selling its popular erectile dysfunction pill directly to patients via its website.  Men will still need a prescription from their doctor but they’ll no longer have to face a pharmacist to get it filled.

An industry first, Pfizer’s attempt to alter the age-old distribution model whereby manufacturers have never sold pills directly to patients (there has always been a wholesaler who then distributes the drugs to pharmacies, hospital and doctors’ offices), the company hopes to tackle the plague of unscrupulous online pharmacies.  Increasingly, patients are offered counterfeit versions of Viagra and other brand-name drugs for up to ninety-five percent off with no prescription needed.  Patients don’t realize the drugs are counterfeit or that legitimate pharmacies require a prescription.

The Internet is filled with illegitimate websites that lure customers with spam emails and professional-looking websites that run 24-hour call centers. A January study by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy allegedly found that only 257 of 10,275 online pharmacy sites it examined appeared legitimate.

Not surprisingly, experts say the fake drugs sold by unscrupulous websites can be quite dangerous because they don’t include the right amount of the active ingredient, if any, or contain toxic substances such as heavy metals, lead paint and printer ink.  They’re generally made in filthy warehouses and garages in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin-America.

But let’s not assume that Pfizer is simply looking out for the best interests of its customers.  Counterfeit versions of Viagra and other Pfizer medicines rob the company of billions in annual sales.  In a 2011 study during which Pfizer bought “Viagra” from twenty-two popular internet pharmacies and tested the pills, they reportedly found that 77% were counterfeit and most had half or less of the promised level of the active ingredient.

Yet Viagra remains appealing to counterfeiters for two reasons – It’s expensive and it treats a condition with a high “embarrassment” factor.  To help offset the high $25-per-pill price, Pfizer is offering three free pills with the first online order and thirty percent off the second.  It’s smarter, safer and now easier to buy directly from the manufacturer.

If this works, I imagine other drug makers will follow Pfizer’s lead.  And maybe we’ll all get less unwanted email.

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From → Ovations

4 Comments
  1. Let’s see you can download instructions on how to make a bomb, you now can download instructions on making a plastic gun with 3D printer and now we can improve ED online. Do you feel males have an inferiority complex they are trying to overcome, says this 54 year old male.

    Like

  2. I would be happy if some of the other drug companies followed Pfizer’s suit & gave people the opportunity to buy the “real thing” online if it would cut down on some of the unscrupulous imitators.

    Like

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