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Is Viagra really safe to buy online? The truth.

Is Viagra really safe to buy online? The truth.

Viagra, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s name for a drug called sildenafil citrate, is the most sought after medication on the Internet. You can save a lot of money buying Viagra online, but you can also risk getting a fake or tainted product which endangers your health. Here’s how to stay safe and save money.

First, the quick facts on Viagra savings: Sixteen tablets of Viagra 100mg in a U.S. pharmacy can run you about $600. You can buy the real, brand name product online, distributed by Pfizer, from a licensed pharmacy outside the U.S. at a discount ranging between 75-80%. Yes, men with a valid prescription can buy that same quantity of Pfizer-manufactured Viagra 100mg (En Español) for $126.99 (instead of $600) at a PharmacyChecker.com-approved international, non-U.S. online pharmacy.

While this discount is huge, you can also buy legally manufactured, safe and effective generic versions of Viagra 100mg at even greater discounts (about 95% off).  Pfizer doesn’t want you to know and understand that generic Viagra, meaning legally manufactured sildenafil citrate, is not counterfeit, it’s just much lower cost sildenafil citrate. A generic version of Viagra is not available in U.S. pharmacies and won’t be until late 2017, but it is lawfully available in India, and now in Canadian pharmacies as well! Generic medications are not the exact same as their brand counterparts but have the same active pharmaceutical ingredients and almost always the same therapeutic effect. However, if you import generic Viagra into the U.S., even for your own use, then you may be violating Pfizer’s intellectual property (patent) rights. Not surprisingly, Pfizer is fighting down to the wire to prevent a generic version of Viagra from being sold at U.S. pharmacies. To the best of my knowledge, Pfizer has never sued an individual for importing a generic version of Viagra for personal use – although I’m guessing they would like to.

If you live in the U.S., it’s technically prohibited under federal law to purchase most medication from outside the U.S., but, according to experts at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the FDA doesn’t take enforcement actions against people who import small quantities (up to a 90 day supply) of medication for personal use.

Viagra remains a prescription drug in the U.S., and reputable pharmacies outside the U.S. will require that you provide them with your prescription: one obtained through an in-person consultation with your healthcare provider.

Pfizer is outspoken in its communications with the Americans public that buying Viagra without a prescription is unsafe. However, Pfizer made a push for Viagra to be sold without a prescription in the European Union (EU). The company stated: “Pfizer believes that access to Viagra 50mg without a prescription in a pharmacy setting in the EU would provide valuable benefits to male patients suffering from ED (erectile dysfunction).” EU regulators said no. Their reasoning was sound: men with ED should see a healthcare provider to make sure there was not a more serious underlying condition causing the ED in the first place.

Buying Viagra online without a prescription is dangerous. A peer-reviewed study about online pharmacies showed that online pharmacies that are not credentialed by PharmacyChecker.com, or other credentialing groups, and don’t require a prescription, are more likely to sell counterfeit Viagra, including fakes with dangerous ingredients. Interestingly, out of 365 combined purchases of Celebrex, Lipitor, Nexium, Viagra and Zoloft made in the study, the only counterfeit drugs received were counterfeit Viagra.

Buying Viagra that is marketed through email is also a really bad idea.  The most reputable online pharmacies are not behind those annoying messages that pollute your inbox with solicitations to buy Viagra.

Finally, you may have seen online offers for herbal remedies for erectile dysfunction. No herbal ingredient or product has been shown to be as effective as Viagra.  (Extracts of yohimbe bark, containing the compound yohimbine, were used for erectile dysfunction before there was Viagra, but, due to inferior efficacy, they are now rarely used). Unfortunately, many herbal sexual enhancement supplements are now being illegally spiked with pharmaceutical compounds like that in Viagra, but these can be dangerous for many reasons, including the fact that the amount of active compound and its identity are not disclosed on labels. Our sister website, ConsumerLab.com, frequently publishes warnings about such ED products.

It’s kind of amazing that Viagra was discovered accidentally. In the late 1990s Pfizer was testing sildenafil citrate to treat cardiovascular disease. People participating in those tests realized – bang, zoom, – this drug has a great side effect! That its creation coincided with the rise of the Internet is hard with irony. The Internet, to Pfizer’s dismay, has helped people obtain lower cost Viagra, which eats into Pfizer’s profits – but hasn’t it also served to wildly popularize the drug – exponentially boosting Pfizer’s sales?

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