You Probably Thought the Problem Was Too Much Alcohol

Pfizer Inc. (PFE), the drug’s producer, now has a site for you: its own, where you can get the blockbuster impotence fighter without wondering what shady source you’re dealing with. Using CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) to verify prescriptions and fulfill orders, the site is Pfizer’s latest attempt to fight counterfeiting. In its announcement this week, the world’s largest drug maker cited a 2011 analysis it did of pills bought from 22 sites ranking high in search results for “buy Viagra.” About 80 percent were fake, containing only 30 percent to 50 percent of the drug’s active ingredient, sildenafil citrate. The new site is a reminder of the original value of consumer branding: as a guarantee of quality. It’s also evidence of the failure ― and the perverse effects ― of online drug regulation.

Virginia Postrel at Bloomberg.

Comments (13)

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  1. Pete says:

    Would think it’s a failure of online regulation in general. This is sort of like the generic pharmaceutical swap.

    Yay for profit maximizing.

  2. Penn says:

    Yes, I’m sure manufacturers in India are terribly concerned about losing their customer base.
    They’ll probably just publish false quality data.

  3. Ron says:

    Interesting post. I personally didn’t realize there was such a big problem with piracy related to Viagra.

  4. Sam says:

    It is pretty hard to regulate much of anything over the internet. This is a good idea implemented where customers can know where to look at to get original products.

  5. Stich says:

    Regulating the drug industry is difficult as is without adding the complexities of the internet. Knowing where you get your products from, and the trustworthiness of the source is important when looking for quality.

  6. Protoss says:

    Interesting, although I am not surprised that most of these online sites are fake, what’s up with the 20 percent that aren’t fake. Are they valid sources to buy online meds from?

  7. Moon Blood Good says:

    The problem is never too much alcohol!

  8. Kerrigan says:

    I think more needs to be investigated into these online pharmacies, we need to expose them on how fake they are on the quality standard.

  9. Zeratul says:

    I don’t get why people are willing to buy medication off the web, particularly if there are serious side-effect potential!

  10. H. James Prince says:

    I like the internet – it’s the only place where the free market actually exists.

  11. Raiden says:

    Has anyone done an extensive investigation into this industry? Given its growing prevalence, there must more done to shed light on this shadow world of illicit drug trades.

  12. Buckwheat says:

    The word “fake” is somewhat of a misnomer. The pills in question are probably non-FDA approved generic versions of Viagra made in India.

    Viagra costs about $10 to $12 per tablet regardless of the dose (25-mm, 50-mm and 100-mm). The generic 100-mg pills from India cost $0.75 to $2.50 depending on the quantity ordered. The 100-mg generic pills from India only contain 30% to 50% of the stated dose of sildenafil citrate.

    There will be temptation to order the pills from India and take double or triple the normal dose as long as the Indian pills are cheaper by a factor of five. Another factor that may lead to online sales is that many men may order online do avoid seeing a doctor.

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