The Controversy of Viagra(r) (Sildenafil Citrate), Other ED Medications, and Their Generic Counterpa

There has definitely been a good deal of controversy over Viagra®, it’s use and more recently, it’s side effects among some unfortunate patients however, apart from the specific drug itself and the effects, reasons and results of it’s use, there has been another controversy of which only those involved would probably be aware. I am referring to the purchase and use of Generic Brands of Sildenafil Citrate.

Those involved being those who operate online generic Pharmacies, those who purchase through them and, by no means least, the thousands of Affiliates who market these.

Did you notice a moment ago when I called it Sildenafil Citrate and not Viagra®? It is, and has been referred to as Viagra®, regardless of whether Pfizer’s(TM) original brand or a generic version is being talked about, since it’s introduction to the Pharmacy industry, not to mention the public.

Although I thoroughly respect Pfizer’s(TM) right to guard it’s own trade mark with jealousy and, especially make sure that website domains are not being registered using their ‘property’, I can’t help thinking that, at least in many cases, most people’s use of the Viagra® moniker is more part of our social and language set than any deliberate attempt to profit by using the name, albeit in a legally questionable way.

There are plenty of examples, where what was originally a ‘brand’ or ‘trade name’ has become the popular means of identifying an object, product or other such item. Obviously, the use of these brand names and their becoming part of our descriptive language generally applies to the ‘first’ or ‘original’ of the given item in question. I can’t give too many examples, being Australian; mine would only mean something to my countrymen. I am only familiar with a couple of examples from say… the US or the UK but I’m sure everyone gets the picture.

Having said this however, I think the crux of the matter lies not so much in the ‘name’ itself, but the use of the Viagra® name to describe and market the generic equivalents – and they are equivalents, PROVIDED they do contain the same active ingredients and if they are made and packaged with the care and controls that most people from developed countries expect from such products.

The name ‘Viagra®’ belongs to Pfizer(TM) and there’s no doubt or argument that can circumvent that fact however, to use the term ‘Generic Viagra’, provided it’s not used in a company name or exclusive website domain, is simply a means to describe to visitors and potential customers what you are offering. For instance, if I were to advertise ‘Generic Levis’, people would know that I am not selling Levi Strauss(TM) jeans. The word ‘generic’ makes that quite clear and I’m sure there is no way any misunderstanding could result.

In fact, if there were any misunderstanding, it would be in favor of Levis(TM) because, although it’s totally untrue technically and in reality, generic still means ‘inferior’ to many people. Of course, generic means ‘non-brand name’. There is nothing to suggest that the word does, or ever has meant anything else. Although realistically, in terms of some products that are generic, there are definitely cases where ‘generic’ has become a little ‘synonymous’ with ‘not as good as the original’. A number of generic or ‘no-name’ food items come to mind.

Not so, with generic medications. They either have the active ingredients, in the prescribed quantities, or they don’t. If they don’t, they are not generic they are forgeries! Forgery means forgery but generic does not. Generic means ‘the same but not the original’, (and more often much cheaper!).

The controversy, as long-winded as it has been, could be coming to a close, for a couple of good reasons. I predict that the close of the issue and consequent legal approval of a number of generic drugs will occur sooner rather than later. After all, in the ‘generic drug’ category, it has been progressing for some time now. How many different brands (and ‘no name’ versions) of aspirin or acetaminophen can you now choose from?

The patent which allows Pfizer(TM) to claim exclusivity with regard to the chemical is enforceable until 2013 however, one of the patents concerning the discovery of its positive effects on impotence, has been withdrawn in the UK (where Viagra® was first discovered). According to a report of the court case, it was determined that the information forming the basis of the patent was already in the ‘Public Domain’ at the time of the patent application.

It remains to be seen whether this decision and other challenges, which have been hinted at, will have any effect on Pfizer’s(TM) hold on the exclusivity of the Viagra® drug. Obviously, the active ingredient has been ruled in the public domain at some point, as it’s use is widespread.

There is also to be considered the fact that Levitra®, a treatment for erectile dysfunction, which works in a different way to Sildenafil, has just received approval to be supplied en masse in Europe virtually ensuring it’s survival outside of the U.S., where it has already been approved.

Because of these developments, and I know many who would agree, I personally think that approval from the FDA, and the regulating authorities of other countries, of generic versions of all the ED type medications won’t be too far off. The simple fact that there are so many medications for this type of problem is testimony enough that the market is expected only to grow and grow. Examples of Viagra® equivalents alone are: Zenegra®, Kamagra®, Caverta® and Silagra® and each of the other medications like Levitra® and Cialis® all have their generic versions too.

So, given that these types of generic prescription medications can be basically the life blood of the online Pharmacy, especially the Affiliate driven ones and the affiliates themselves, the future is looking a fair bit brighter than it was say… 12 months ago, when questions of the legality, rumored legislation and even morality were being bandied about regarding the online pharmacy industry.

The question seems not to be whether these generic medications will receive the recognition of official approval in the ‘developed’ countries but more so, when it will be. This leaves only the concept of importation from countries in Europe, India and, of course, Mexico as a matter for controversy. This practice doesn’t sit well with a number of people and in some cases; there is good reason why.

Personally, I know that the generic versions shipped through the online pharmacy that I affiliate with are reliable and W.H.O. (World Health Organization) approved. I can’t speak for any operations, which use Mexican or Indian sources however. I assume, as with everything, the good and bad exist.

I am the first to admit that there are definitely ‘forged’ drugs being sold and imported. There are also probably generic medications, which may well have the prescribed amount of active ingredient, but may be manufactured and/or packaged under conditions, which leave them less than perfectly safe.
There are ways to determine if the Pharmacy through which you want to purchase generic medications is ‘bonafide’ (in terms of the quality of the drug and the conditions under which it is manufactured and packaged).

The World Health Organization (W.H.O) has a set of such guidelines, which must be adhered to in order for their approval to be given. A number of the generic drugs in question, i.e. those that are being touted as ‘possibly’ impure or ‘useless’ have this approval. I can only imagine that W.H.O. ensure this certification doesn’t come too easily and it is in some way monitored.

Of course, there are other ways to check an online Pharmacy. Contact information is always a good means to ascertain if you’re dealing with an organization that will be there tomorrow and has a good reputation and supplies reliable product, even if it is imported directly to the client (the cheapest and most expedient way). A polite email or phone call asking a few questions like: ‘Where do the drugs come from?’ or ‘what is your refund or guarantee policy?’, will usually elicit the signals you would normally be wary of.

The use of the ‘Trust Gauge’, which you can download from Trustgauge.com in the form of a toolbar, is always handy.

Of course, there must be a means for you to supply detailed information for an online prescription. This is legal in the U.S. although some medicos don’t accept it as best medical practice. Also the vast majority, certainly those Pharmacies that are operating with due care and diligence, supply an abundance of information regarding the use of the medication, side effects, contra-indications etc. Generally, most of this you would not get from a visit to the doctor’s office! Many of the online pharmacies have tomes of advice and information for patients. Certainly, this is one of the positives about the ‘online consultation’.

All that those who choose to take advantage of the HUGE savings that can be made through online pharmacies selling generic medications need to do is to be aware of their own health and any conditions they may have, read the supplied information carefully and complete the online consultation form honestly. If the required information is not available on the pharmacy website, I would certainly advise finding another.

Having become disabled, I am fortunate enough to be able to earn a comfortable living from home through Affiliate Marketing. Having a number of websites, the generic online pharmacy component represents only part of my activities however; I do feel that this area of affiliate marketing does contribute in a large way towards helping people who are in need of a product, which unfortunately, isn’t within the financial reach of everyone that it should be. A sad indictment for developed nations like the US, Canada, the UK and Australia (although Australia does have a very generous Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, it doesn’t cover ‘luxury’ drugs like Viagra® – and maybe it shouldn’t…).

If I can be responsible for one person being able to access a much-needed medication through one of my generic medication websites, which they wouldn’t normally be able to access because of financial constraints, then I am a happy man…

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