By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – A warning about illegal supplies of the impotence drug Viagra available on the Irish black market at exorbitant prices, has been made by the medical director of a clinic which specializes in male medical problems.
“It is time to warn the public as it is freely available through the internet. There are a lot of people making a lot of illegal money at the moment.
“You just don’t order it and take it and then expect to become a Casanova. It can kill,” said Dr. Emad Massoud of the Wellman Clinic.
“People should know that you can die if you take it. Like every other drug, if it is abused or taken incorrectly, it is very dangerous.”
Heart patients taking the potency pill can suffer lethal side effects if they mix it with nitroglycerine and related medications.
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Dr. Massoud said they had had a steady stream of calls looking for it for the last month and he had warned patients not to take it.
He said the amount of propaganda for the drug meant that normal people may use it thinking it would make sex better.
“I know it is available and there is actually an office in Dublin who faxed me to offer me Viagra.”
The demand for the drug, which costs $10 per tablet in America, was extraordinary, he said.
“It is selling for $90 in Saudi Arabia. There is an internet web-page operating out of the UK where you pay _50 sterling for a consultation with a doctor and then _15 per pill to get it sent to you.”
He said a lot of pills being sold as Viagra were not real thing – they are just blue capsules containing water.
Massoud said that people who didn’t need the drug were buying the bogus tablets. “They feel great,” he said. “They take them and say, ‘Wow, great, that was a wonderful night’ and then tell their friends.”
Since it was launched in the U.S. in March, more than a million men have been prescribed the drug and new patients are running at about 10,000 a day.
John Kelly, chief executive of the Irish Medicines Board, said the drug had not been licensed for sale in Ireland.
Viagra is being assessed via a central European procedure. If the decision is positive, the IMB will automatically authorize it for the Irish market as a prescription product.
Viagra’s explosive success has resulted in shares in the Pfizer drug company jumping more than 10 percent on the New York Stock Exchange. One of the main ingredients is made in the Pfizer plant in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.