Herbal Viagra’s Secret Ingredient Is Actual Viagra, FDA Reveals

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Herbal Viagra's Secret Ingredient Is Actual Viagra, FDA Reveals

An investigation conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that herbal viagra supplements contain the same active ingredients found in legit prescriptions for erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra and Cialis—and in some instances, double the dosage a doctor would prescribe.

Unfortunately for society at large, supplements don’t have to be vetted as heavily as prescription drugs. They can be sold without going through an FDA approval process to ensure they do what they claim (and you know, won’t kill you).

According to Buzzfeed News, contaminated sexual enhancement supplements seem to be on the rise—and until consumers complain about unexpected medical problems from taking them, these knockoffs may forever fly under the FDA’s radar, putting a disturbing amount of people at risk.

Again, Buzzfeed News:

In a 2013 study, Pfizer scientists tested 58 “herbal” and “all natural” supplements collected from convenience stores and gas stations in Atlanta and Baltimore. Of those, 81% contained the active ingredients found in Viagra and Cialis, or contained synthetic analogs that have never been tested in humans. The cost of the supplements ranged from $2.99 to $17.99, whereas Viagra is around $22 per pill.

Herbal viagra supplements are one of the top sellers on the market—and one of the most likely to be tainted. While the FDA has started to crack down on the issue (a warning letter was recently sent to a company peddling so-called “natural” boner enhancers), the investigation may only be hitting the tip of the iceberg: Its thought that the same manufacturers are also counterfeiting other herbal remedies and prescription drugs.

At least the FDA won’t be battling the issue alone: Pfizer (the makers of Viagra) made $1.7 billion in Viagra sales last year alone, and according to Jezebel the company already has “vested interest in rooting out fake versions of Viagra.” How heroic… and self-serving. But mostly heroic(ally self-serving).

It’s thought that the cost of Viagra and the mandatory doctor’s visit are what drive consumers to go rogue when dealing with their not-so-hard-ons. One expert suggested to Buzzfeed News that Viagra be made an over-the-counter medication: “If you were told what to watch out for, what not to combine it with, if you had Viagra on sale at all drugstores, things would be much safer. It’s our moral and social resistance to that that’s stopping it. That and, Pfizer wants to make more money.”

Indubitably.

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Pill pack image via Shutterstock

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