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Pfizer Considers Selling Version of Over-the-Counter Viagra

By Riconoen {UGC}, Jan 12, 2007 | Updated: Oct 11, 2008 | |
  1. Riconoen {UGC}
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=ako99MYxgNqQ&refer=news

    Pfizer Considers Selling Version of Over-the-Counter Viagra

    By Shannon Pettypiece

    Jan. 11, 2007 (Bloomberg) -- Pfizer Inc., the world' biggest drugmaker, is exploring the idea of selling the Viagra erectile dysfunction drug without a prescription, the company said.

    An over-the-counter version of Viagra must be approved by U.S. regulators, who would have to determine that patients could self-diagnose the condition and that the product was safe for use without a doctor's supervision. Pfizer declined in an e- mailed statement to give details of its plans or a timeline.

    The drug has been used by more than 23 million men since it was approved in 1998, the company has said. Viagra, along with other erectile dysfunction drugs, has been linked with vision loss in some men. The product labeling also carries a warning it shouldn't be taken with nitrates used to treat chest pain.

    ``Since its introduction in 1998, there has been ongoing speculation about Viagra's alternate uses and delivery mechanism,'' wrote Pfizer spokeswoman Shreya Prudlo. ``As with many of our products, Pfizer has routinely evaluated a number of options (including different formulations, new indications, OTC, etc.) and continues to do so.''

    The statement was made in response to a report by a British magazine that Pfizer is developing an oral spray version of Viagra, citing unnamed sources. Pfizer denied that report.

    Viagra's sales have declined since 2004 because of competition from similar drugs Cialis made by Eli Lilly & Co. and Bayer AG and Schering-Plough Corp.'s Levitra. Viagra's patent is set to expire in 2012, according to a March regulatory filing by New York-based Pfizer.

    Drugs that have gone from prescription to over-the-counter, such as Schering-Plough Corp.'s Claritin, typically sell for less. Viagra costs $9.99 a pill at its lowest does according to Web site drugstore.com.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in 2005 that 43 men lost their vision after taking that drug and similar medications for erectile dysfunction. Pfizer changed its packaging information for Viagra to say some users had rare instances of sudden vision loss.

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