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What’s So Bad About “Generic” Viagra?

By EmilyM

Looks can be deceiving. If something looks like the real thing and sounds like the real thing, but is offered at a mere fraction of the normal cost…well if you aren’t initially suspicious, maybe it’s time to start asking yourself, “okay what’s the catch?”

There is a time to be trusting but when it comes to buying Viagra and other medications online, it pays to start off as a skeptic. After all, this concerns your health, it’s not like buying a Prada on Canal Street in Chinatown for example. You buy the bag because you are told “it’s real,” days later the “designer” bag nearly crumbles as the cheap imitation leather and stitching falls apart. Well you bought it dirt cheap and guess what? It is cheap.

While that can be a real bummer – the whole fake “generic” Viagra thing…much bigger deal.

Counterfeit Viagra is no joke, it’s illegal and it can have terrible consequences on your health. I know I personally am sick and tired of emptying out my spam folder, constantly clearing out the clutter of countless offers for “Viagra.” I put this in quotes because regardless of the claims, chances are the only similarity between the genuine Pfizer product and the ones offered in spammy emails is the name.

This week, an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle really put the whole magnitude of the industry into tangible terms. According to a source from the article, pharmaceutical counterfeiters can make $450,000 from a mere $1,000 in seed money. To put that in perspective, the article compares this to the profits of those who peddle heroin, saying that a $1,000 seed will only yield up to possibly $20,000.

This month has marked a large victory in the war on counterfeits for Pfizer. Gone are the days when the largest drug manufacturer left the matter of catching counterfeiters up to local authorities. Now Pfizer is dealing with the matter head-on and discovered their first large counterfeiter in the process.

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek reports the story of one man, Martin Hickman, who made quite a killing off his illegal business. In fact, when Pfizer spies (formerly U.S. Customs officals) caught him, he was living a merry life of crime in his Spanish Villa, alongside his frivolous purchases, including a diamond-encrusted Rolex watch. Apparently his brief, 3-month stint in jail in 2007 for trademark infringement did nothing to curb his ways. According to the Bloomberg article, the new method of catching criminals is really starting to pay off, so far recovering nearly $5 million.

So aside from the fact that it is illegal, why exactly is buying these pills so bad?

1. Many of these counterfeits are marketed as “generic Viagra.” Currently there is no FDA-approved generic version, which means that these pills are not regulated at all. Often, the quest to make a near-identical lookalike means adding ingredients that should never be ingested in the first place. According to one report, many fake medications include things like boric acid, cement dust, road paint, chalk and brick dust, nickel and arsenic. If the active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, is found in these pills at all, it is often in trace amounts or in the wrong chemical combination, rendering it virtually useless.

2. Counterfeiters usually illegally smuggle their fake Viagra stashes into the U.S. Many times the money made from their illegal activities goes to support other criminal activity.

3. When a site does not require any type of medical assessment, massive health complications can result with any type of prescription-only medication. While it may seem convenient and easy to just order quickly with a click of the mouse, an online medical assessment reviewed by a licensed physician is the safest way to purchase medication online.

4. These scandalous companies make it more difficult for legitimate online pharmacies to operate. When operated correctly, buying Viagra online offers patients privacy, convenience and a lower cost alternative to going in to the doctor’s office and having a relatively uncomfortable conversation. In fact, according to research from the University of Utah and published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, an online medical assessment can actually be safer than the traditional in-office visit.

Some telltale signs that an online pharmacy is not legit (and neither is the medication they claim is the “real thing”):

* Viagra is offered in “quick dissolve” or “soft tabs,” neither of these are produced by Pfizer

* Claims to be a cheaper “generic” version

* Offers medication without a prescription

Hopefully with Pfizer’s new initiatives and a collective growing knowledge of the dangers of fake medication, these criminal counterfeits will find that crime truly doesn’t pay.

KwikMed.com is the ONLY company currently granted regulatory approval to prescribe Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Propecia and Chantix online. All prescriptions are monitored by licensed physicians, overseen by a regulatory board and all pills are genuine, domestically manufactured and name brand products.




Men Who Use ED Drugs Have Higher Rate of STDs

By EmilyM

This week, headlines like this one have been splattered across the health section of most news sites. My initial reaction: “Wait, what?” My follow up reaction: “Good grief…”

Since the published study came out in the July 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, there has been a lot of chatter about the subject. The goal of the study was to see if men over the age of 40 who used PDE-5 inhibitors, like Viagra, for erectile dysfunction, have an increased rate of getting sexually transmitted diseases.

The study consisted of more than 1,000,000 men over the age of 40. 30,000 of these men had filled prescriptions for ED meds. The conclusion was hard to debate – it clearly found that ED-medication users had a higher rate (2 to 3 times higher) of STD infection, especially HIV and chlamydia.

Why is this? To be honest, this information sort of baffles me. Just as we have all heard birth-control commercials explain “the pill does not protect you from STDs,” Viagra comes with the same warning. Let’s face it, even if it didn’t have this warning, don’t men in their 40s have some idea how this whole process works?

While I feel that the study is interesting and well conducted, the way it is being portrayed is not entirely fair. Many make it sound like ED drugs actually cause STDs. Here’s the thing, having sex can lead to STDs, Viagra helps men have more satisfying sex lives, men have more sex than they would have without it, therefore men having sex have higher risk of infection. Is this news to anyone? Another part of this equation is that it’s not just married men who are taking Viagra and other ED medications. Many men and women are single in their 40s today and with this new found sexual ability, perhaps caution is thrown out the window somewhere along the way, bringing grown men and women back to the younger years of reckless abandon.

No matter what the reason, I think more than anything, this serves as a wake-up call of sorts. No matter who you are, where you come from, or how old you are – STDs do not discriminate. If you are sexually active at any stage in life, it’s important to remember that just because you are now able to enjoy a healthy sex life, it doesn’t mean all the rules of your younger years don’t still apply.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?




Utah Bill Creates Strict Regulations for Online Pharmacies

Peter Ax at the signing of S.B. 274

By EmilyM

When I mention online pharmacies to anyone not directly involved in the industry, the response is always the same.  I get that raised-eyebrow-sort-of-look, the one that automatically assumes that all online healthcare sites are “rogue” pharmacies selling illegal counterfeit drugs with no prescription needed. And really, it’s hard to blame them since the “buy generic Viagra” boom has rallied in full force this past decade, saturating organic search engine results and spam email folders.

The large majority of these sites lure web surfers in with promises of “generic discounts” that are “the real thing”  but the truth is, many are unsafe and there is no legal FDA approved generic form for any of the pde5 inhibitors: Viagra, Cialis or Levitra.

Since Peter Ax, Phoenix Capital Management, acquired KwikMed in 2001 (which previously operated as a “rogue” site out of Salt Lake City), an ongoing collaboration with Utah legislators, physicians and experts has recently yielded some really exciting results for regulating and sorting out the bad apples in this rapidly growing industry.

The unanimous passing of S.B. 274 on March 30, 2010, marked the first state statute defining professional standards of practice for online prescribing, dispensing and facilitation. With KwikMed’s business model as the framework, the Utah Department of Professional Licensing (DOPL) now requires all online pharmacies to be licensed, forcing them to conduct business in a way that is safe for the consumer.  These standards are enforced through the newly signed law and the  first of its kind, Internet Pharmacy Board.

The need for online healthcare is strong in today’s ever-growing Internet based society.  Many diseases and medical conditions are diagnosed solely on patient history, with no face-to-face exam necessary. In fact, research conducted by the University of Utah and published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings discovered that in many ways, online medical assessments are even safer than face-to-face physician assessments.

You can almost hear the audible groans of all these “rogue” illegal pharmacies as this  raised awareness has spun one ground breaking law into action. But if you ask me,  it’s only a matter of time before we see more laws like this emerge.




Foreign online pharmacies usually illegal, dangerous

There are some interesting reports this week about prescription medications imported from foreign countries. As we have noted many times, these drugs are almost always illegal, and are very often quite dangerous.

There is a New Zealand report of illegal imports that are not the medications that were advertised or ordered. In some cases, the medicines delivered were completely different drugs, leading to at least one death. In other cases, the drugs contained a main ingredient of bat and pigeon guano. Apparently, you get what you pay for. Many sites offer pills that normally may cost 20-30 dollars, for less than 5 dollars. There is no way that authentic medications can be sold for 80-90% off of their legitimate market value. Prices that low probably mean they are made of pigeon droppings.

A related article about illegal imports in the US, and how they relate to the Medicare ‘donut hole,’ addresses the illegality of foreign imports. The Medicare coverage gap, called the “donut hole,” is a situation where a patient under Medicare Part D will get some insurance coverage for medications up to $2,380. After that point, the patient receives no assistance with drug costs, until their expenses exceed $4,550, when “catastrophic coverage” begins. This expense gap leaves the patient completely ‘out-of-pocket’ for thousands of dollars in medications, and this is when many patients look for bargains. Many go to websites for ‘Canadian’ pharmacies to save some money, but then find their shipments coming from other places, like India or China. There is no way to know if these drugs are real, or effective, or even safe. From the article: “…nearly all prescription drugs imported into the U.S. for personal use — which lack approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—are illegal.”

KwikMed is the only online pharmacy that is licensed to prescribe based on an online medical history, and only delivers authentic, original-manufacturer, FDA-approved medications from US distributers.

beware counterfeit and 'generic' pills

fake and 'generic' Viagra




Generic Viagra Illegal in United States

Viagra is not legally available in generic form. Avoid generic, soft-tab, and quick-dissolving forms of Viagra. It is illegal to sell these products in the United States and the FDA has never approved a generic form of this product. Therefore, their contents have not been shown to be effective or safe.

See what Pfizer says about generic Viagra.




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