Viagra Corner: Despatches from the Frontiers of Medicine

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The Independent Online
CRIMINALS ARE peddling fake Viagra pills via the Internet, a television documentary claims tonight. The useless tablets are being manufactured in Thailand and India then marketed abroad, according to World In Action.

The programme's assistant director, Peter Lowe, said: "Our research indicates that professional counterfeiters have turned their attention to Viagra. They've seen there's a huge market for the drug and there are vast profits to be made. The counterfeits we've had so far either contain a below-strength active ingredient, or none at all." The programme also claims that it secretly filmed inside one Harley Street clinic where Viagra was offered to an impotence sufferer for pounds 50 per tablet, 10 times its recommended price.

It claims the clinic failed to carry out proper medical checks before prescribing and that clinics were employing consultants with no medical qualifications.

Viagra is not yet licensed in the UK, but is available on a "named prescription" basis from private doctors.

In the United States the drug is set to generate pounds 1bn in sales in its first year. A Channel 5 documentary last night showed a US brothel where business has reportedly increased by up to 50 per cent since Viagra's launch.

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