AHF To Petition FDA To Reject Pfizer’s Request To Sell Erectile Dysfunction Drug Without Prescription
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Wednesday announced it will petition FDA to reject Pfizer's request to sell the company's erectile dysfunction drug Viagra without a prescription, United Press International reports. The group said it learned through recent media reports that Pfizer has "admitted for the first time" that it is seeking FDA approval to sell Viagra without a prescription in U.S. pharmacies, United Press International reports (United Press International, 2/14). AHF earlier this month announced that it is banning Pfizer sales representatives from its facilities worldwide, including 14 centers in California and Florida, during business hours in response to how the drug maker markets Viagra. In January, the foundation filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Pfizer for allegedly promoting recreational use of Viagra in advertisements. AHF said Pfizer's ads for the drug have increased risky sexual behavior, as well as cases of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, among men. The suit asks that Pfizer stop running ads that promote Viagra as a lifestyle drug and that the company fund ads promoting awareness about the risks associated with Viagra and STIs. In addition, the suit asks that Pfizer forfeit profits gained from the "misleading" ads and pay for AHF's costs of treating cases of HIV/AIDS and other STIs that it has linked to Viagra. AHF in December 2006 launched an ad campaign against Pfizer because it said the company's ads for Viagra promote recreational use. Pfizer at the time denied that the ads encourage recreational use of the drug and said that its advertising states that the drug does not protect against STIs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/12). "As a physician and HIV/AIDS treatment provider, I feel strongly that Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs should be provided under the auspices and direction of qualified and trained medical providers," Charles Farthing, AHF's chief of medicine, said, adding, "AHF's number one priority is protecting the health of people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as the general public, and I believe that keeping these medications as prescription only and regulated by the FDA is prudent at this time" (AHF release, 2/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.