PAKISTAN: VIAGRA FINDS ITS WAY ONTO THE BLACK MARKET

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(7 May 1999) Urdu/Eng/Nat Doctors in Pakistan are warning of the dangers of men buying the impotence pill Viagra on the black market and taking it wit...

Дата загрузки:2021-08-30T12:20:37+0000

Published
(7 May 1999) Urdu/Eng/Nat
Doctors in Pakistan are warning of the dangers of men buying the impotence pill Viagra on the black market and taking it without prescription.
The sale of the drug in the country is currently being debated by the government - it says it wants to make sure the drug will be made available in the safest possible way.
But medical experts say the problem of impotency is high in the country and that men are anxious to try out supplies of Viagra introduced illegally at a high price.
Viagra, the impotency pill, is proving to be big business in Pakistan.
The drug, first released in the U-S in March 1998, is legally available in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Many people consider it the beginning of a new revolution in pharmaceuticals.
In Pakistan, the government is currently discussing when and how to introduce the drug.
But Viagra has already found its way onto the black market in the country's capital Islamabad and can be bought at a high price.
One tablet can cost anything from 20 to 50 U-S dollars - a bottle of Viagra tablets can cost anything from 360 to 800 U-S dollars.
Some Viagra users say the drug has been freely available to them for some time now and that they're prepared to pay up.
SOUNDBITE: (Urdu)
"Viagra is a sex drug and I have been using it for about two years and found it very good, because it adds energy to the body if we use it two hours before sexual intercourse. I have found no other medicine better than Viagra and the demand for it is now growing."
SUPER CAPTION: Abdul Qadir, Viagra user
The country's health department has so far been reluctant to legalise Viagra - but it is aware of the black market problem and is prosecuting anyone found selling the drug.
Government officials say they want to make sure that there are no loopholes before Viagra is legally available in Pakistan.
SOUNDBITE: (English)
"In the West they know that this drug has got side effects and that it is a prescription drug. So nobody can buy it without prescription, while in Pakistan we still have some loopholes, some weaknesses where the drug can be sold over the counter and this is my main worry in resisting to register it."
SUPER CAPTION: Professor Ghayyur H. Ayub, Director General of Health Ministry
There have been worries that Viagra may have side effects.
But Pfizer, the company that produces Viagra, maintains the drug is a safe medicine for erectile dysfunction when used as recommended in the approved package insert.
There are already many legal drugs on sale in Pakistan to help enhance sex.
Herbal doctors offer remedies for impotency, claiming they're natural products that have no side effects.
The herbal remedy sellers can often be found on roadsides doing a roaring trade - but even they now say that the new wonder drug is threatening their trade.
Medical experts say there is no official impotency figure in the country because Pakistani men are reluctant to admit they have a problem in a nation where sex is a taboo subject.
But doctors say it is an ever increasing problem and they are warning of the dangers of taking the impotence pill without prescription.
Doctor Khalid Saeed said it is even more of a worry as impotency affects men of all ages.
SOUNDBITE: (English)
"There are two basic main groups in which we can find this who come to us commonly. One is the younger age group - they are really people in their early 20s and the other group is somewhere in the late 40s and 50s and both of them have different presentations. People in the younger age group generally come to you just before they are about to get married."

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