Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


VP gets re-appointed

Another vote for SOGS

UBC to put its money on lobbying the banks

Viagra pops its head into London stores

Soothing surgical pain

Small ends his year with balanced books


Chomping down on useful etiquette

Caught on campus

Viagra pops its head into London stores

By Leena Kamat
Gazette Staff

Limp Londoners may get a boost to their sex lives now that Viagra has been thrust into local drug stores.

The famous penile prescription which caused a furor in the United States when it came out last year, is now promising to cause similar excitement in Canada.

On March 8, Health Canada approved the sale of Viagra in Canada with a doctor's prescription, said Bonnie Fox-McIntyre, spokesperson for Health Canada.

Several pharmacies, including the Shoppers Drug Mart at Cherryhill Village Mall, received their shipment last Wednesday and the next day, the pills were on sale. "We've had quite a turnout," said Zsolt Orlay, a pharmacist at the drug store. He added five customers purchased the pills on the same day they hit the shelves.

Stephen Leung, a pharmacist at Pharma Plus Drugmart in the Galleria London Mall, said his store also received a shipment last week. "[There has been] a lot of media hype because of the function of the product," Leung said. There are other treatments on the market for erectile dysfunction which came before Viagra but they have not received the same attention as Viagra, he added.

The pill was legalized in Canada later than the U.S. due to various factors, Fox-McIntyre said. "One being, in general terms, we get drug submissions later than the U.S.," she added.

There have also been some deaths south of the border which initially seemed to be caused by Viagra, Fox-McIntyre said. The causes were soon attributed to the heart conditions and medications which were used by the men involved. Fox-McIntyre said the drug has been deemed safe, effective, of high quality and, therefore, has been legalized by Health Canada.

Don Sancton, director of corporate affairs at Pfizer Canada, the company which made Viagra, said the pill is the first effective oral therapy for erectile dysfunction.

"We estimate there are two to three million Canadian men who suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction," Sancton said. He added the company expects about 300,000 Canadian men to seek treatment for this illness within nine months of the launch of Viagra.

He said each individual pill costs approximately $13 plus professional dispensing fees.

Viagra is also available closer to the Western community at the University Pharmacy, said Al Jiwaji, the store's pharmacist. "It's the biggest thing today," Jiwaji said.

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