Skip The Pharmacist, Have It Delivered
In a major breakthrough for the prescription drug industry, Pfizer Inc., the maker of Viagra, is now making the "little blue pill" available on its website for men with a prescription. The move has a two-fold aim: first, increase business from men who might be embarrassed about going to the pharmacy to get the pill to treat erectile dysfunction; and second, to cut down on the massive amount of Viagra knockoffs often sold online for as much as 90% cheaper, and many without a prescription. KTRH Medical Expert Dr. Joe Galati says he's surprised this hasn't happened sooner. "You talk to your doctor and get the script, and then you go home and log in online and get it delivered at home rather than having to face the pharmacist."
Men who buy Viagra online will still be required to get a prescription, which could raise another issue, according to Dr. Galati. "Whether or not you can get counterfeit prescriptions, that would be the one concern," he says. "So you'd have to learn a lot more about how the prescription from the physician is entered online." Nevertheless, that security hurdle is a small one compared to the mountain of phony male potency pills now online. "There's an awful lot of counterfeit Viagra on the market," says Galati. "And this certainly raises a concern where people are buying a cheap imitation, you really don't know what is in it."
Pfizer still has the exclusive patent rights to Viagra, meaning there is no legitimate generic version of the drug. Many of the advertised versions contain smaller amounts of the active ingredient, along with other dangerous substances and chemicals that aren't subject to safety standards. "Pfizer really wants to make sure that you get the real drug in your hands--Viagra in this case--and so you know it's going to have all of the safety checks that Pfizer stands behind," says Galati. Of course, the "real thing" comes at a higher price, but Pfizer is trying to soften that blow by offering three free pills with the first online order and 30% off the second one. If this effort is successful, expect other drug makers to follow. "The whole paradigm is changing on how Americans buy their medicine," says Dr. Galati.
Listen to "Your Health First" with Dr. Joe Galati Sundays at 7 p.m. on Newsradio 740 KTRH