Today In History: The FDA Clears Viagra – HistoryInOrbit.com

Today In History: The FDA Clears Viagra

March 27, 2018 | Matt


March 27, 1998
Wikipedia

Today in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration greenlit the drug Viagra for sale to the public. The drug would have a dramatic impact on sexual health and bad comedy.

Viagra, the branded name of the drug Sildenafil, was developed to treat hypertension and angina pectoris, a heart condition. The drug’s unanticipated side-effect of promoting erections made it one of the most lucrative drugs in the history of medicine.

The drug was approved a mere two years after Pfizer patented the drug, an unusually quick approval window for a new medication. It was an instant hit, bringing in approximately a billion dollars in gross sales in its first year. It wasn’t cheap – a single Viagra cost somewhere between eight and ten dollars.

Will Rabbe

The drug’s success is partially explained by Pfizer’s unorthodox, aggressive marketing push. It was not common practice to advertise prescription medication on television at that time. It was doubly surprising to see Republican politician Bob Dole tapped as a spokesman.

The marketing campaign set a precedent that’s still followed by pharmaceutical companies bringing new prescription meds to market.

Erectile dysfunction is still a major problem, and one that appears to be getting worse. The incidence of erectile dysfunction in younger men, including even teenagers, has sparked sharply in recent years. Internet pornography is generally considered the prime culprit.

Viagra now shares its market niche with Cialis and Levitra, though Viagra is still the drug most people associate with ED treatment. If you are curious about trying it yourself, seek counsel from your doctor, not your spam folder.

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About the Author:
Matt lives in Southern California. He is interested in politics, history, literature and the natural world.