This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Huge Rise in Phizer Sales

viagra

March 27, 1998:  FDA Approves Viagra

On this day in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves use of the drug Viagra, an oral medication that treats impotence.Viagra_in_Pack

Sildenafil, the chemical name for Viagra, is an artificial compound that was originally synthesized and studied to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a form of cardiovascular disease). Chemists at the Pfizer pharmaceutical company found, however, that while the drug had little effect on angina, it could induce penile erections, typically within 30 to 60 minutes.

Model of the sildeanfil molecule, based on a the crystal structure of sildenafil citrate monohydrate

Model of the sildeanfil molecule, based on a the crystal structure of sildenafil citrate monohydrate

Seeing the economic opportunity in such a biochemical effect, Pfizer decided to market the drug for impotence. Sildenafil was patented in 1996, and a mere two years later–a stunningly short time compared to other drugs–it was approved by the FDA for use in treating “erectile dysfunction,” the new clinical name for impotence. Though unconfirmed, it is believed the drug was invented by Peter Dunn and Albert Wood.

Viagra’s massive success was practically instantaneous. In the first year alone, the $8-$10 pills yielded about a billion dollars in sales.

viagra

Viagra’s impact on the pharmaceutical and medical industries, as well as on the public consciousness, was also enormous. Though available by prescription only, Viagra was marketed on television, famously touted by ex-presidential candidate Bob Dole, then in his mid-70s. Such direct-to-consumer marketing was practically unprecedented for prescription drugs (now, sales and marketing account for approximately 30 percent of the pharmaceutical industry’s costs, in some cases more than research and development). The drug was also offered over the internet–customers needed only to fill out an “online consultation” to receive samples.

Israeli and Australian researchers discovered that 1 mg of the drug dissolved in a vase of water can extend the shelf life of cut flowers, making them stand up straight for up to a week beyond their natural life span. Go figure.

Robin Williams on Viagra (warning, contains adult content):

Whats the difference between Niagara and Viagra?
Niagara Falls.

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: