AIDS foundation to petition FDA to stop OTC Viagra

February 19, 2007

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nation's largest pro-vider of HIV/AIDS medical care, which operates free AIDS treatment clinics in the U.S., Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, and Asia, announced that it would petition the FDA to stop Pfizer from obtaining approval for OTC sales of its ED drug, Viagra (sildenafil citrate). AHF stated that Pfizer's plans "encourage the recreational use of the drug, which the foundation believes ulti-mately contributes to increased risk for individuals' exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, by people using the ED drug with other drugs such as crystal methamphetamine." AHF also criticized Pfizer for its approval of a controversial test run of OTC sales of Viagra in the United Kingdom. Earlier this week, Boots Pharmacies, a UK-based pharmacy chain, offered a Valentine's Day special through which men between the ages of 30 and 45 were able to obtain Viagra without a prescription. Ac-cording to a UPI news report from Manchester, England, the Boots chain used a government-approved system in which medi-cines could be dispensed to groups of patients without requiring individual prescriptions. AHF stated, "By advertising a drug that is designed to treat a diagnosed medical condition as a way to en-hance holiday celebration, Boots Pharmacies and Pfizer send a reckless message to consumers."

In response, Francisco Gebauer, Pfizer spokesman, told Drug Topics, "Pfizer has not filed an OTC application for Viagra with the FDA or any other regulatory agency. There are a lot of inaccuracies in the releases issued by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation." On the subject of the Boots promotion, Gebauer added, "There's a distribution mechanism within the UK law which en-ables healthcare professionals, like pharmacists, to do that kind of thing. The Boots UK program is being implemented by Boots, independent of Pfizer. It is not a Pfizer program. We are not in any way involved with it."

To see more Hot off the Press news articles, click here.

To go to the Drug Topics homepage, click here.