Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer Sells Viagra Online To Counter Black Market

Erecting their defenses to counterfeiters

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Pfizer has taken the unusual step of selling its erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra, to consumers on its Web site, in an effort to establish a presence in the huge online market for the popular blue pill, considered to be one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world.

Viagra is one of Pfizer's marquee drugs — the company said it brought in more than $2 billion in sales in 2012 — but some drug experts estimate Pfizer could be losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to a prolific black market of online pharmacies that cater to men too embarrassed to buy the drug through traditional means. As of Monday, in an arrangement with CVS/pharmacy, patients in the United States with a valid prescription for Viagra are able to fill their order through the new Web site, where the sentence "Buy real Viagra" is featured prominently. Patients will still need to visit a doctor, but they will be spared the additional trip to the pharmacy counter.