Should you beware of 'generic Viagra to your door' ads on WFAN?

Boy...you Boomer & Carton, Mike Francesa et al. listeners apparently have a big problem with erectile dysfunction and a need for cheap Viagra alternatives because you're all broke.

Is "generic Viagra" from mail-order pharmacies legit? The New York Times took question:

Viagra is an expensive drug that, rightly or wrongly, Medicare and many private drug plans won't cover. Lately I'm getting emails and calls from what purports to be a Canadian pharmacy trying to sell me "generic Viagra" at a substantial discount. What is the truth about "generic Viagra"?

Their answer? 'No.'

In short, no. A cheaper generic version of Viagra — the blue pill for erectile dysfunction that is made by the drug company Pfizer — isn’t sold yet in the United States, though by late 2017 one is expected to be available.

“Any pharmacy that’s offering generic Viagra is probably using counterfeit product that’s not approved,” said Carmen Catizone, the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, a professional organization unaffiliated with drug makers.

...

While a generic form of Viagra, known as sildenafil, is made in some countries, bargain hunters may be buying sugar pills, or inadvertently getting a low dose of the drug. “The medication may be there, but it’s a much lower dose. Then the guy gets depressed because he thinks nothing is going to work,” said Dr. Darius Paduch, the director of sexual health and medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. “So he may stop having sex or never see a doctor.”

Medical problems can also arise if a patient gets fake Viagra that’s “substantially less effective” but doesn’t disclose that he got it from a suspect site touting cheap Viagra, Dr. Paduch said. “I will escalate their treatment thinking they took the prescription.” He might, for example, suggest penile injection therapy, which can have serious side effects for a man who has mild erectile dysfunction, as the injections are for more severe cases.

All the while, the patient with a mild case might have responded to bona fide Viagra from a legitimate pharmacy.

Shame is the issue, not cost, for some people. Even with a prescription, Dr. Paduch said some patients prefer to buy online or trek to the office for a free sample, rather than face the pharmacist. “They are so ashamed because of the stigma, which is completely stupid,” said Dr. Paduch, who used to be a paid research investigator for Eli Lilly, the maker of Cialis, another pill for erectile dysfunction.

Roger Bate, a pharmaceutical expert at the American Enterprise Institute, warned men not to answer a random spam email selling really cheap Viagra. “You’re running a significant risk,” he said, with some websites “not only trying to get your money and sell you a fake pill, but probably trying to steal your identity as well.” But, he said, real Viagra, made by Pfizer, is available from some foreign websites.

Truth in Advertising went directly at Marley Generics:

“Are you taking Viagra or Cialis for ED?” North Carolina-based Marley Drug asks with the subtleness of a skyscraper in a recent radio ad. “Now you can get sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, in generic 20 milligrams, for $2 per tablet.”

Mentioning generic and Viagra in the same sentence may lead you to believe that Marley Drug is selling generic Viagra. But it’s not. The radio ad directs listeners to a website that discloses:

Note: This is the FDA approved generic of Revatio 20mg tablet. The FDA has not approved generic Viagra, even though the active ingredient (sildenafil) is identical, just in a different strength.

Translation: Revatio is a prescription drug that has the same active ingredient — sildenafil– as Viagra, though not as strong.

Want another red flag? While Marley Drug contends that it is “NOT an internet pharmacy,” the website sure functions like one, taking orders for doctor-prescribed medication and distributing that medication. The three-step process outlined on the website: “Get a prescription, send us your prescription, receive your medications.”

So you can get 20 mg of the stuff in Viagra...only no Viagra dose is that small.

Oh WFAN. Is there any ad you run folks can trust?

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