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Viagra over the Internet

NOPE! We're not playing that game, but according to an article in the October 28, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, a lot of websites are. And it's strictly "Buyer Beware!"

Direct Sales of Sildenafil (VIAGRA)
to Consumers over the Internet
Armstrong K, Schwartz JS, and Asch DA
New Engl J Med 341: 1390, 1999

In this study, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found 86 websites which offered to deliver Viagra directly to consumers without a physician visit.

Among the more interesting observations made about these Viagra-pushing websites were the following:

  1. 9 of the 86 websites ceased operation almost as soon as they were identified.
  2. 45% of the remaining websites required no medical evaluation, not even an online questionnaire, for a consumer to get the drug.
  3. When a questionnaire was offered, the average charge for online evaluation of the questionnaire was $64 (range $5 - $89). However, only 1/3 of the sites specified that a physician would review the questionnaire.
  4. Of the questionnaires that were offered, only 44% sought information about use of nitrates, a major contra-indication to Viagra.
  5. 70% of the sites required the consumer to release the companies from all liability, before supplying the drug.
  6. 29% of the sites were located outside the U.S.

Conclusions of the authors:

  1. Viagra seems to be widely available over the Internet.
  2. Important safeguards are being bypassed.
  3. Direct sale of pharmaceutical products to consumers over the Internet is undesirable; and ethical pharmaceutical companies agree.
  4. Charges of unprofessional conduct may be made by state licensing boards against physicians who prescribe drugs over the Internet.
  5. The posted charges for the drug are in some instances so low as to suggest that the product supplied may not actually contain Viagra.

USRF evaluates Viagra

Viagra Package Insert

FDA guidelines for online drug purchases

Now an internet pharmacy verification site
(VIPPS) to help consumers be sure they
are dealing with a legitimate pharmacy online.



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