Pfizer Inc. aims to help consumers feel more confident about buying Viagra online with the launch of a new purchasing website powered by CVS/pharmacy.


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Pfizer enlists CVS for Viagra online Rx service

May 6th, 2013

NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc. aims to help consumers feel more confident about buying Viagra online with the launch of a new purchasing website powered by CVS/pharmacy.

Pfizer's new Viagra home delivery service, accessed through Viagra.com, features a "Powered by CVS/pharmacy" logo.

The pharmaceutical company said Monday that it has gone live with Viagra home delivery, an online prescription fulfillment service for Viagra tablets (sildenafil citrate) tablets, its most counterfeited medicine.

The new website can be accessed at Viagra.com, where visitor will see a "Viagra Home Delivery" button with an adjacent "Powered by CVS/pharmacy" logo. Through the service, consumers can submit a new Viagra prescription or refill an existing one, estimate their co-payment in real-time, and check on the status of their order. Free standard shipping is available in the continental United States, and expedited shipping options are available for a charge.

Pfizer said CVS/pharmacy will handle all of the service's back-end functions, including the authentication of all prescriptions. The drug chain's online pharmacy, CVS.com, has received accreditation from the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) program of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

The new website offers men with erectile dysfunction (ED) an opportunity to purchase Viagra online from a trusted source, Pfizer noted.

"There are almost 24 million searches a year for Viagra online. By offering men with ED convenient access and a legitimate alternative to purchase Viagra online, our hope is that Pfizer will help rein in the distribution of fake ED products," Victor Clavelli, senior director and marketing group leader for Pfizer's primary care business unit, said in a statement.

Another way for consumers to buy Viagra safely online is to look for other VIPPS outlets. An online pharmacy must meet several privacy, security and quality assurance requirements to earn VIPPS accreditation, which helps ensure patients get legitimate medication and that personal health information is kept confidential.

A 2011 analysis by Pfizer Global Security found that 80% of Viagra pills sold by 22 websites were fake tablets (pictured at bottom of photo).

Pfizer said that in 2011, its Pfizer Global Security unit evaluated 22 websites appearing in the top search results for the phrase "buy Viagra" and conducted chemical analysis of the pills advertised as Pfizer's Viagra that were ordered from those outlets. The study found that about 80% of the pills were counterfeit, and although the fake Viagra pills contained the active ingredient sildenafil citrate, the amount was only 30% to 50% of what was advertised.

Another study in 2011 indicated that many consumers put themselves at risk of receiving counterfeit medicines. The national survey of 1,000 men with ED conducted by Harris Interactive, and sponsored by NABP and Pfizer, found that 82% believe it is difficult to determine if an online pharmacy is legitimate, yet 36% would consider buying ED medicines based on an online search.

"We have seen counterfeit medicines manufactured in filthy and deplorable conditions, yet some people do not realize the risks that this poses to their health and safety, our top priority," stated Matthew Bassiur, vice president of Pfizer Global Security. "Counterfeit medicines often contain the wrong or incorrect levels of active ingredient, as well as potentially dangerous contaminants. Samples of counterfeit Viagra tested by our labs have contained pesticides, wallboard, commercial paint and printer ink. These findings motivate us to continue our aggressive global efforts to stop those who prey on unsuspecting patients."

Online sales of fake Viagra are part of a rising public health threat from illegitimate Internet drug sellers. Though the number of online pharmacies has climbed in recent years to meet consumer demand, a recent NABP reveiw showed that as few as 3% of websites selling prescription drugs are legitimate pharmacies, and up to half offer foreign or non-Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs.

"Through our ongoing analyses, we've seen how fake pharmacy websites can lure consumers into buying counterfeit medicines with what seems to be an easy purchasing experience, but it may be putting their health at risk," commented Carmen Catizone, executive director of NABP. "We're pleased to see companies collaborating to develop and support solutions that will help patients obtain legitimate prescription medications online."

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