Internet-marketed PDE-5 inhibitors frequently counterfeit, dangerous

May 23, 2012

Men who order so-called generic Viagra acquired from the Internet are more likely to be ingesting paint, gypsum, rat poison, and a host of other substances found more often in garages than pharmacies, researchers have discovered.

Men who order so-called generic Viagra acquired from the Internet are more likely to be ingesting paint, gypsum, rat poison, and a host of other substances found more often in garages than pharmacies, researchers have discovered.

"The patent for sildenafil 25, 50, and 100 mg for treating erectile dysfunction is still in effect. There is no such thing as generic Viagra, but it is illegally advertised as such all over the Internet," senior study author Irwin Goldstein, of the University of California at San Diego, told Urology Times.

The Pfizer-underwritten study analyzed Viagra purchased without a prescription from 22 Web sites during 4 days in March 2011. The pills cost as little as $3.28 and as much as $33. (The average prescription dose of Viagra costs around $20.) Ninety percent of the non-prescription pills were counterfeit. Analysis of the pseudo-medications found paint, boric acid, rat poison, and gypsum-the compound used in cement and plaster.

Dr. Goldstein said the counterfeit pills, which looked like Viagra in every detail down to the packaging, are made in "unbelievable conditions" such as filth-encrusted lavatories, basements, and construction sites.

Physicians treating men with complaints of erectile dysfunction would be prudent to warn patients of such Internet hoaxes and ask them about the origins of medications they say provide no benefit.

Pfizer has posted several YouTube videos regarding counterfeit Viagra. In one of them, Richard Boscovich of Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit explains that purchasers of counterfeit drugs can be harmed in more ways than one. Not only do they get worthless and/or dangerous drugs, but they are also often giving their credit card numbers, names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and a wealth of other personal information to known criminals.

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