Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pfizer to sell Viagra online

Pfizer has taken the unusual step of selling its erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra, to consumers on its website, in an effort to establish a presence in the huge online market for the popular blue pill, considered to be one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world.

Viagra is one of Pfizer's marquee drugs — the company said it brought in more than $2 billion in sales in 2012 — but some drug experts estimate Pfizer could be losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to a prolific black market of online pharmacies that cater to men too embarrassed to buy the drug through traditional means.

In an arrangement with CVS pharmacy, patients in the United States with a valid prescription for Viagra will be able to fill their order through the new website, where the sentence "Buy real Viagra" is featured prominently. Patients will still need to visit a doctor, but they will be spared the additional trip to the pharmacy counter.

If Pfizer's move is successful, more drugmakers could follow suit, especially for other products that treat conditions carrying social stigmas, such as weight loss. "This could be the prelude to a vast number of products" of medical importance being sold online, said Roger Bate, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an expert in counterfeit drugs.

But others cautioned against such predictions, saying that Viagra might be particularly well suited to online sales because of its powerful brand recognition and the widespread competition from counterfeiters.

Victor Clavelli, a marketing executive at Pfizer whose portfolio includes Viagra, said the drug appeared in about 24 million Internet searches a year, often in phrases like "buy Viagra" — well in excess of about 8 million Viagra prescriptions written in the United States last year, according to the research firm IMS Health. "A lot of those patients get diverted into an illegal counterfeit market," Clavelli said. "Our goal is to just make sure those patients actually get the real Viagra."

Pfizer to sell Viagra online 05/06/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.