Monday, December 05, 2005

Getting It Up Going Down

Defying expectations, the market for Viagra and other impotence drugs appears to be falling well short of predictions.

The New York Times reports that new prescriptions for the drugs have fallen steadily this year despite heavy advertising campaigns costing more than $400 million.

Some of the decline is a result of reports that link the drugs to a rare form of blindness, but the biggest reason is that many impotent men have chosen to not take the drugs even though they are proven to work about 70 percent of the time and have relatively few side effects.

The combined global sales of Viagra, and its newer competitors, Cialis and Levitra, reached about $2.5 billion last year.

The Times says the drop in prescriptions for the impotence drugs is part of a larger trend that has affected other heavily marketed medicines like antidepressants and may be a sign of the limits of consumer advertising to drive demand for drugs.

So-called recreational use of Viagra and its ilk by younger men also seems to have peaked.

Dr. Michael A, Perleman, a sexual medicine specialist in Manhattan, said the drugs make only a marginal difference in the quality of intercourse for most men under 40. Says Perelman:

In many ways, if you have a full tank of gas or half a tank of gas, your car runs equally well.

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