By Harry Keaney
Impotence is a major problem for middle-aged men, and a production company in Cork is among the beneficiaries of that male shortcoming, not to mention those who bought stock in the company Pfizer.
Viagra, a new drug for male impotence, was released on the U.S. market two weeks ago, and already it has broken all-time sales records. In fact, market analysts say it’s the most successful drug launch in history, beating Prozac and the baldness drug Rogaine. Prescriptions for the drug are running at about 10,000 a day in the U.S.
Approval is awaited for sale of the drug in Europe.
U.S. sales have driven Pfizer’s share price to a record high, probably making it one of the best buys of the year for those who were in with a purchase order in time. The drug is produced by Pfizer.
Pfizer’s plant at Ringaskiddy, in Cork, is one of the main production center’s for the drug’s active ingredient, Sildenafil.
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It seems that U.S.-type demand for Viagra will probably be repeated in Ireland when it is launched there. The doctor who has supervised the only trials of the drug in the Republic has predicted it will be “a huge success” in Ireland.
“It’s a massive breakthrough in the treatment of the problem, and the success in the U.S. doesn’t surprise me,” said Dr. T.E.D. McDermott, who told the Irish Medical Organizations annual conference recently that impotence affects half of all men who are more than 40 years old.
Dr. McDermott said the drug had first been used for improving blood supply to the heart. “But they found that the fellows taking it were all getting erections, so then they started looking at alternative uses.”
About 300 people are employed at the Pfizer production plant in Cork.