The Illicit Sale of Medications for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Philip J. Dorsey, Jr; Wayne J.G. Hellstrom, MD, FACS


Medscape Urology 

In This Article

What to Tell Your Patients

Counterfeit medications, specifically PDE-5 inhibitors, certainly exist in the global and US markets, and the consequences these drugs may have on the health of patients are real. Counterfeiters have become highly sophisticated and are capable of producing fakes that can escape detection by even a trained eye. Try to talk with your patients about their erectile dysfunction and encourage them to be up-front about all medications they consume -- herbal, over-the-counter, or otherwise. If patients wish to use Internet pharmacies, instruct them to proceed with caution. Encourage your patients to use only VIPPS-approved online pharmacies and avoid sites that will prescribe medications without a doctor visit. Caution patients on the potential risk of filling prescriptions in other countries where the percentage of counterfeit medications may be greater. Additionally, if patients notice major changes in the taste, texture, color, or packaging of medications, they should be encouraged to report these uncertainties immediately as they may be signs that they have encountered counterfeit or adulterated medications. The Table lists a number of Web sites you can refer patients to for further information.


  • Educate patients on the risks of counterfeit and other non-FDA-approved products.

  • Remind patients to purchase only from a VIPPS-certified pharmacy if they want to fill their prescriptions online, particularly for medications found on the National Specified List of Susceptible Products.

  • Continue to advocate the treatment of sexual health conditions.

  • Support efforts to maintain consumer access to sexual health medicines.

  • Encourage nonspecialists to probe for sexual health concerns.

  • Report any suspected cases of counterfeit medicines to the FDA at[25]


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