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Special Features | National

Hard truth: Fake erectile dysfunction drugs can kill, experts warn
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – The maker of one of the largest-selling drugs for erectile dysfunction on Tuesday sounded the alarm against counterfeits that promise quick results but could cause serious reactions, or possibly even death.

On a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the highest, the most potent forms of Sildenafil could reward users with a “Grade 4” in terms of "Erection Hardness Score" (EHS), a unit of measure for erection hardness and quality.

But the use of counterfeits could lead to adverse reactions, experts are warning.

Pfizer Philippines made the warning after authorities seized last week several boxes of suspected counterfeit MagnaRX drugs being sold in drugstores along Binondo and Ongpin in Manila. Pfizer is the manufacturer of Viagra, one of the most popular brands for erectile dysfunction pills. 

MagnaRX appears to be sourced from China and purports to treat erectile dysfunction.

According to Pfizer’s senior medical manager Dr. James Wee, patients who take counterfeit Sildenafil “may experience unexpected side effects, allergic reactions, worsening of their medical condition, or even death.” 

The manufacturing sites of these counterfeit medicines are not regulated or inspected by authorized agencies. “These counterfeits are also not tested or FDA-approved, thus may contain toxic and unlisted ingredients,” he added.

He advised patients to first consult their doctors before purchasing this type of medication.

“Patients must also only buy this drug from FDA-licensed pharmacies,” he said. 

Storeowners caught selling the fake ED drugs face charges of trademark infringement and violating regulations of the Food and Drugs Administration.

Problem linked to diabetes, hypertension

Sildenafil drugs are made for the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction, or men’s inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for mutual sexual satisfaction.

Diseases such as diabetes and high-blood pressure, as well as psychological factors (stress and trauma), and hormonal imbalance, among others, are usually blamed for ED.

But according to Pfizer, a Sildenafil drug could alleviate erection difficulties by helping restore the process of improved blood flow to the penis.

Since it first became available in 1998, the drug has helped over 35 million men around the world improve their sex lives, as most of them who took the drug achieved “Grade 4” erections.

“It is therefore important to only purchase the authentic Sildenafil drug from FDA-licensed pharmacies because fake drugs may just make one’s condition worse,” Wee said.