Shy Viagra users get a break from Pfizer
In an industry first, the drug giant will sell directly to consumers via its website. It probably won't be the only one to try this.
Men needing to fill their Viagra prescriptions will no longer have to go through the potentially embarrassing step of handing over their drug orders to a pharmacist.
Patients will still need a prescription, but they can sidestep the pharmacist by filling the orders at viagra.com. To convince consumers to take up the offer, Pfizer is adding an enticement: three free pills with the first order and 30% off the second. That's not peanuts, either, since the pills cost $25 each.
The reason behind the move isn't just to help self-conscious men get their hands on Viagra, however.
After all, Pfizer is breaking the big pharma distribution model by selling directly to consumers, not a move to be undertaken lightly. Pharmaceutical companies sell their drugs in bulk to the middlemen who fill our prescriptions or provide medication: pharmacies, hospitals and doctors.
Pfizer is also aiming to fight counterfeiters who sell fake drugs to the unsuspecting. More than 97% of 10,400 sites that sell pharmaceutical products online aren't in compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws, according to an April study from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
Viagra is a huge target for counterfeiters, given that the drug had $2 billion in sales last year. But the fakes often have little relation to the actual drug, with the knock-offs sometimes filled with chalk, brick dust and even pesticides, according to BloombergBusinessweek.
Not surprisingly, that can lead to serious health complications, with one study estimating that 100,000 people die every year from fake and substandard medications.
If Pfizer succeeds in convincing men to buy online, other drug companies could soon be selling directly to consumers, a boon for those prone to bouts of self-consciousness at the pharmacy counter.
"If it works, everybody will hop on the train," Les Funtleyder, a health care strategist at private equity fund Poliwogg, told the AP.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
At $25 per pill the Justice Department should investigate that as FRAUD. Those little blue pills cost
pennies to make like aspirin.
Personally I would not pay $25.00 per pill for a Pfizer product when I can (and do) regularly purchase a generic equivalent for just a bit over a dollar per pill. I have heard all of the horror stories about how you don't get what you are paying for but to date I have had no ill effects and they work just fine for me. To be honest I think most of those stories are propaganda to try and frighten men into buying the high priced original. Once the basic ingredient was known it didn't take long for the generics to show up. Once I tried them and they worked as well as they did I had no reason to waste money on the original.
Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are all pretty much made of the same ingredients, just different manufacturers. All are available from alternate sources for much less money and many of those sources don't even require a current prescription. Any old one will do just fine or you can simply answer a few questions on-line and a foreign physician will give you a virtual prescription. As a man who is almost 70 and living on a fixed income I need all the help I can get physically as well as financially and the giant pharmaceutical manufacturers have already more than recouped their research and development expenses so their prices are nothing more than a kind of extortion because they hold older men hostage for their sexual needs and desires.
"Not surprisingly, that can lead to serious health complications, with one study every year from fake and substandard medications"
It seems odd that Viagra is the medication you are worried about.
Where do you get the $25 per pill price quote. Hardly worth even a fraction of that
I "like" the part where I have to ask the insurance how many pills I can have-NOT! They get to say how often I get to have sex. Next it will be Obamacare who will say how often I will get have sex. I'd just like to have sex with my spouse when I want to not when everybody else tells me I can.
Men get a brake why is the reason? I would like to have a list of women pharmaceuticals they sell maybe like birth control that could be handled the same way. I don't believe the reasoning for this one bit.
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