After more than a year of clinical trials, China
announced Monday that it has approved sales of the anti-impotence
The drug's maker, U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, declined to
forecast possible sales in China for what is one of the world's
best-selling drugs. As many as 100 million Chinese men suffer from
sexual dysfunction, according to state media.
Koenraad Bosteon, chairman of Pfizer's Chinese arm, said sales
would depend in part on improving the ability of doctors to
diagnose sexual problems. "If we are successful, it means that we
are reaching patients who are currently suffering in silence,"
Viagra will be available in China only by prescription, the
State Drug Administration said in announcing its approval.
The agency said the drug is to be marketed under the Chinese
name "Wan Ai Ke," according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Introduction of the "little blue pill" abroad in 1998 drew
widespread interest in China, whose men have been interested for
centuries in drugs to increase sexual potency.
While the government tested Viagra on hundreds of men, Chinese
pharmaceutical firms rushed to capitalize on the publicity, selling
fake Viagra or their own drugs under similar names.
One company was ordered in April to withdraw pills marketed as
"Weige" the Chinese phrase meaning "Great Man."
Viagra has been a huge seller worldwide as the only oral
impotence treatment, but has killed some users who suffered heart