A new study is showing that recreational use of Viagra is growing rapidly in men under 45 years of age. From 1998 to 2002, the use of Viagra in men under forty-five tripled, says the study, which looked at 5 million insured American males. What this study indicates is that Viagra is being used as a recreational drug, not as a drug to treat a medical condition. Thus, it belongs more in the category of pot, crack, heroin, or meth rather than being a medicinal pharmaceutical.
But let's look at the big picture here -- the maker of Viagra earns profits regardless of how it's used. And from where I sit, I haven't seen Pfizer working very hard to try to limit the sale of this drug to younger men for recreational use. If a company were acting responsibly and putting the interest of the public health over the interests of its own profits, it would of course try to restrict sales of the drug to those who don't medically need the drug. That's typically men over 65. But instead, the company seems happy to sell the drug to all variety of sources, where the drug eventually ends up in the hands of men as young as 18 who are using the drug recreationally.
Another part of this that surprises me is that young men actually need Viagra. I think this is bizarre, and it's obviously the result of extremely poor health on the part of the younger generation today due to their mass consumption of junk foods, soft drinks, and food ingredients that deplete their nutrition and alter their libido. In addition, there is an alarming lack of physical exercise among today's youth, and this impairs the sexual performance in younger males.
The very fact that young males actually think they need this drug is all by itself alarming. But it's even more alarming to realize that Pfizer appears to be doing very little to restrict the sales of Viagra for recreational use.
If you use e-mail, you've probably also noticed that you get quite a bit of e-mail spam in your inbox that offers Viagra for sale. I haven't seen Pfizer do much of anything to try to halt Viagra spam, either. In fact, once again, it seems to be in the financial interest of Pfizer to allow the sales of Viagra through spam, because regardless of who buys the product or how it's sold, Pfizer generates profits from it anyway.
If all of this sounds familiar, it should. It's reminiscent of the marketing tactics of cigarette manufacturers, who attempted for many years to sell cigarettes to younger people through youth-targeted advertising and lax enforcement of cigarette sales laws. This was an effort, of course, to hook younger children on cigarettes so that they would become lifetime smokers. The tobacco industry, of course, denies all of this, as would Pfizer if questioned about it. But, I think the pattern is quite similar -- and very much present today in the pharmaceutical industry.
The bottom line, as I see it, is that pharmaceutical companies don't care how their drugs are sold or who uses them, even if there's no justified medical use whatsoever. They simply want to sell more prescription drugs, generate more pharmaceutical profits, and fatten up their own bank accounts.