Wednesday, May 25, 2005

PEED: A New Viagra Franchise?


Just when men thought it was safe to take a Viagra and engage in sexual intercourse with confidence, along comes another sexual stigma that "experts" say affects up to 30 percent of us guys.


Yes, I am talking about premature ejaculation, or PE as marketers are now calling it! And, of course, we are hearing about this now because several drug companies are working on a treatment for this "medical condition" and several recent news stories have reported on clinical studies presented at scientific meetings. What a coincidence!
It turns out that Viagra may be a player in the PE market as well as the ED -- erectile dysfunction -- market. If so, it could breathe new life into a brand which otherwise will be going off patent in 7 years or so, not a long time in terms of drug-development years.

Besides, if enough men and their doctors fall under the spell of the buzz about Viagra and PE, it could help Viagra sales, which have been limp of late (see "
ED Drug Sales Limp"), right now.
PE and ED: A Great Combination!Pfizer may be hoping that PE will be a new indication for Viagra, but Johnson & Johnson is pursuing a new drug entity, called dapoxetine, for PE. (See "After Viagra, tackling another sexual taboo").

This leads me to consider an interesting alternative scenario for how Pfizer can extend the life of Viagra; i.e., develop a PE/ED, or, as I like to call it, PEED "combination drug." Pfizer could develop its own version of dapoxetine and combine it with Viagra, thus extending the patent life of Viagra and protecting the franchise. Better yet, Pfizer could buy J&J and get dapoxetine. Hey, it could happen!Using combination therapy to protect a franchise would not be a new ploy for Pfizer, which is planning to extend the patent life of Lipitor -- due to go off patent in 2010 -- by combining it with a new drug, called torcetrapib (see NYT Times article "Pfizer Stirs Concern With Plans To Sell Heart Drugs Only as Pair"). While Lipitor works on lowering the bad cholesterol level, torcetrapib raises the level of good cholesterol. Seems to be a win-win to me!

Pfizer, however, does not plan to market torcetrapib alone and some have criticized this plan because it gives doctors fewer options to do their own combinations, perhaps with competing products. Besides, "By tying Lipitor to the new drug, Pfizer can extend its life and perhaps emerge with an even bigger blockbuster." (See NYT editorial, "A Troubling Drug Combination"). "Authorities on drug development say that the F.D.A. may have no choice but to approve a combination treatment if it proves more effective at preventing heart disease than Lipitor by itself," says the NYT article.

But I digress. Let's get back to PE...

Laugh Out Loud Unscientific
The clinical trials designed to measure time to ejaculation in men taking dapoxetine vs. those on placebo are laughingly unscientific in my eyes. The women partners measure how long it takes their mates to come using stopwatches, which presumably dangle from their necks similar to horse trainers measuring quarter-mile times.

I could not imagine a more difficult scenario for measuring male performance. Also, there seems more incentive for the women to "fake it" than not -- that is, make the time to ejaculate longer than it really was.


Speaking of faking it, why aren't drug companies developing a drug for another "sexual taboo"; i.e., the so-called problem women have coming? This issue is so ingrained in our culture (think of the Sienfeld sitcom: "fake, fake, fake") that I'm sure experts could be found to interpret data somewhere to support a claim that 20-30 percent of women "suffer" from this non-PE problem.


Bullshit Meter: HIGHBullshit Level: HIGH
Is PE really a "medical condition" that needs correcting? Is the number of men actually "suffering" from this "condition" being blown out of proportion the same way that I claim the numbers of ED suffers are being inflated?


Of course the numbers are being inflated! These are "lifestyle drugs" that are not really meant to treat a medical condition. Claims otherwise are a lot of bullshit (see "Is Pharmaceutical Marketing a Lot of BS"). Therefore, I have to rate the claims regarding number of PE sufferers very high on my "Bullshit Meter" (see FIGURE, left).


Non-premature ejaculation may be the real medical problem.
Has anyone considered that PE may be an advantage in terms of natural selection? The faster a male animal can get its seed into a female partner, the more likely its genes will survive by being passed on to offspring. As evidence, I offer every video I've seen showing animals doing it. It's always "wham, bam, thank you ma'am." That is, it's over in about 2 seconds flat. Neither the male nor the female think much of it.
Of course, times have changed since the glory days of human evolution. Marriage was invented to allow men and women to have several shots at conceiving and knowing who sired whom. Within the course of a typical marriage, there is plenty of opportunity to mate. Recreational sex is also an option and occasional problems with erections and/or achieving orgasms should not be cause to swallow another pill. But nobody, it seems, has the time to pursue other solutions.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:27 AM

    Pfizer could buy J&J and get dapoxetine. Hey, it could happen!

    Comments like this can really take the gloss of what you guys write and show your lack of awareness of the whole Pharma industry. I hope this comment was tongue in cheek.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Another reason for obama care, if no other reason just to get the whole Pharmaceutical industry in check. What they are doing to our older Americans with the prices they charge for Heart, Blood Pressure and cholesterol medicines and then the people that can't afford even a Viagra script to help keep their marriages together, if should be criminal. Then to PE/ED, as one pill is just plain greedy... And I didn't even vote Obama, but if his plan can put Insurance companies, drug companies and doctors in their place so be it.

    ReplyDelete