Breaking News in Urology

June 3, 1998
Adapted from Original Article
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition

Pfizer Rivals Present Studies on Drugs
They Hope Can Compete With Viagra
By Robert Langreth and Rochelle Sharpe
Staff Reporters of The Wall Street Journal

SAN DIEGO --- Several companies developing medicines to compete with Viagra presented study results Tuesday, June 2 showing their drugs could successfully treat impotence. But none appear likely to present a serious threat to the Pfizer Inc. blockbuster. The companies presenting results at the American Urological Association convention included Zonagen Inc., which has resurrected an old blood pressure drug as an experimental impotence medicine; and TAP Holdings Inc., which is developing an impotence drug that, in contrast to Viagra, acts directly on the brain to create erections. Researchers also presented test results of a topical impotence treatment being developed by MacroChem Corp.

Researchers cautioned that none of the drugs had been directly compared with Viagra in scientific studies and that definitive conclusions couldn't be made. Nevertheless, all appeared to either be somewhat less New Features effective, have more side effects or be more difficult to use than Viagra.

"My initial impression is that [if the drugs under development are approved] the first-choice drug will still be Viagra," said Drogo Montague, a leading urologist and impotence expert at the Cleveland Clinic. Still, he and other urologists said the newer drugs could prove very useful in patients who cannot take Viagra because they are on nitrate heart medications. Also, the drugs could be helpful in combination with Viagra to improve its effect or could work as single agents in patients who don't respond to Viagra.

Separately, the American Urological Association shut down a convention-floor booth operated by a local pharmacy to fill Viagra prescriptions, ruling the booth violated a policy against prescriptions being sold during the meeting. Foreign doctors who cannot get Viagra in their countries had been badgering their American colleagues to write them prescriptions so they could get Viagra and take it home. Many other pharmacies in San Diego ran out of the drug because of the strong demand from urologists at the convention.

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