Warning Issued Over Fake Viagra

Health and pharmaceutical officials in Shanghai are warning patients they must see properly qualified doctors for medicine, particularly if they require Viagra.

The Shanghai Bureau of the Drug Administration and the Administration for Industry and Commerce jointly issued the warning after finding fake drugs in Shanghai sex health shops last month.

They discovered counterfeit products that have the exact same shape, color and packaging as Wan Ai Ke, the Chinese brand name for Viagra, a drug which treats impotence.

Viagra was launched as a prescription drug in China with approval from the State Drug Administration last September.

But, according to reports by the Shanghai Evening Post, about 90 percent of Viagra sold in Shanghai is not real.

Reports suggest the blue pills are available in about 2,000 local sex health shops. Each shop sells about four pills a day.

Another article in Shanghai’s Xinmin Evening News said that in the past few months, the city’s health bureau inspected 197 sex health product distributors and unearthed dozens of items with forged approval numbers.

Pfizer, the company which make Viagra, wants to work closely with government departments in a nationwide anti-counterfeit campaign in order to ensure the safety of patients, the firm said.

Xu Zhou, spokesman for the Shanghai Bureau of Drug Administration, said: “Viagra, as a prescription drug, should only be used in hospitals.”

Shanghai Pharmacy Co. Ltd. and China Pharmacy Group Shanghai Company are the only two authorized Viagra suppliers for local hospitals.

“Its use is strictly controlled and only available in major hospitals. No drugstores or sex health shops are allowed to sell Viagra,” said Wang Wei, an official from the Shanghai Bureau of Drug Administration.

His voice was echoed by Wang Xianghui, deputy director of the Urology Department in Shanghai People’s No. 1 Hospital, who said: “Only doctors in the urology or andrology departments can give patients Viagra from hospital pharmacies,” said Wang Xianghui.

The maximum dosage of the drug is two pills a week. Viagra is sold for about 100 yuan (US$12) in all hospitals, a price set by the city’s price bureau.

Since Viagra came onto the Chinese market, about 300 patients have been prescribed the drug by Wang Xianghui’s department. The overall amount given out comes to about 700 pills.

But some people look to get the drug from other sources, as many of them are too shy, embarrassed or hesitant to attend hospital. Instead, they buy Viagra, or similar drugs, in sex shops, which sell it for double or triple the normal price, Xu added.

(China Daily 01/20/2001)

In This Series

Improved Controls up Medicine Safety

Buying Medicines Gets Easier

Medicine Pricing Policies Readjusted

National Campaign Against Fake Drugs



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