NEW YORK, May 7 (UPI) -- U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said it is selling Viagra online to prevent consumers from buying potentially harmful counterfeits.
Pfizer also said that each year there 24 million searches for Viagra online. In contrast, there are 8 million prescriptions written for the drug each year, Pfizer said in a release.
Consequently, Pfizer has concluded that the drug would sell better if embarrassment were less of an issue and by selling the pill online, consumers can avoid having to reveal to a pharmacist that they are buying a product for erectile dysfunction.
Obtaining the drug still requires a prescription, but cutting a pharmacist out of the loop cuts down the number of people that are privy an issue generally considered private.
Consumers recognize the difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate and fake pharmacies, yet they still may behave in ways that put them at risk of receiving counterfeit medicines, the Pfizer release stated.
"There are almost 24 million searches a year for Viagra online. By offering men with ED convenient access and a legitimate alternative to purchase Viagra online, our hope is that Pfizer will help rein in the distribution of fake ED products," Pfizer marketing executive Victor Clavelli said.
Vice president of Pfizer Global Security Matthew Bassiur said tests of counterfeit Viagra have found some of them made with various portions of "pesticides, wallboard, commercial paint and printer ink."
On the other hand, Pfizer is "a name brand you know really well, and the chance of your buying a counterfeit is close to zero," he said.