(NaturalNews) Concerned about continued profit losses from competitors and online counterfeiters, drug giant Pfizer Inc. has decided to begin selling its infamous erectile dysfunction drug Viagra online directly to men with a prescription. According to the Associated Press (AP), this marks the first time that a drug company has basically bypassed the conventional pharmacy distribution model in favor of an online, direct-to-consumer drug dealing model, which some say sets a dangerous new precedent for the future of drug access.
In a recent announcement, Pfizer embellished on how men who might be embarrassed about filling their Viagra prescriptions in person will now have the ability to obtain the drug online, with ease, "from the privacy of their homes." The company claims it is also protecting unsuspecting drug consumers from fraud by offering Viagra online, as Viagra is said to be the most counterfeited drug currently on the market.
But the real reason for this major change, as disclosed by the AP, is Pfizer's obvious insecurity about its own profits from Viagra, which have dwindled significantly in recent years. At roughly $25 per pill for the real thing, Viagra is a hot drug to counterfeit, with many online pharmacies now selling imitation varieties of Viagra for as little as $1 per pill. Many men have sought out these imitations in recent years, which has cut into Pfizer's multi-billion dollar profits.
Pfizer's abrupt entrance into online sales a desperate attempt to maintain high profits
Consequently, Pfizer is basically now trying to break into the online market as a competitor to imitation Viagra, which is not yet available in legitimate generic form due to the fact that Viagra's patent does not expire until 2020. According to reports, Pfizer has partnered with CVS/pharmacy to fill patients' orders, which will be submitted on a newly-established website that prominently markets the drug as being "real" rather than fake.
"Diet pills for women and erectile dysfunction medicines for men are the most sought-after medicines online," says Roger Bate, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an expert in counterfeit drugs, as quoted by The New York Times. "Viagra is one of the classics."
And it truly is, with tens of thousands of online pharmacies currently offering Viagra knockoffs at a fraction of the cost of the legitimate variety, an incredibly enticing concept for men without health insurance or who are unable to pay the high cost of real Viagra. But the vast majority of these alleged pharmacies are not real pharmacies, according to Pfizer, and many of them are selling so-called Viagra that contains as little as 30 percent of the active ingredient, and well as who knows what else.
Others, however, say Pfizer is simply trying to maintain its own relevance amidst this growing black market for Viagra with its sudden entrance into online sales and distribution. As much as the company wants us all to think it is concerned about patient safety, the truth of the matter is that Pfizer is concerned about its own profits and nothing more.