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Wednesday 29 June 2005 (23 Jumada al-Ula 1426) 

Viagra Sells Briskly in Kingdom Despite Reports of Health Risks 
M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News -


RIYADH, 29 June 2005 - Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest consumer of 
Viagra despite contradictory media reports about its adverse impact on the 
human eye. Mohamed Khalifa, Pfizer's product manager for the Middle East, said 
here Monday that the pharmaceutical company had sold Viagra pills worth SR71 
million in Saudi Arabia during the 12 months ending February 2005. "It seems 
more Saudis are taking Viagra than any other men in the Middle East," said 
Khalifa, adding that Viagra was the second top selling drug in Saudi Arabia and 
the eighth in the UAE. 

Khalifa said that according to experts, increased recreational use of Viagra 
was safe and effective for men of all ages, provided patients consult with 
their doctors first to determine if the drug was safe for them in the light of 
their own individual medical history.

The total market of erectile dysfunction (ED) medicine in Saudi Arabia is worth 
SR191 million per year. 

More than 50 percent men over 45 years of age in the Kingdom are suffering from 
sexual dysfunction. According to a report, the ED has been commonly diagnosed 
among Saudis that affects at least one in 10 of the adult male population. The 
report has further revealed that more than 10 percent of Arab men are suffering 
from sexual impotence, which is among the highest rates in the world.

On the sale of Viagra in other countries of the region, Khalifa said that the 
UAE was the second largest, followed by Kuwait, Lebanon and Egypt. "Since its 
launch in 1998, Viagra had remained on top for treatment of ED," said Khalifa. 
"Viagra commands 63 percent of the total ED market worldwide, despite presence 
of nine other competing drugs." 

The sale of all kinds of sexual dysfunction drugs in Saudi Arabia and the other 
five Gulf states is growing progressively.

Khalifa said that Viagra was not only leading to 'better sex' for couples in 
the region but had helped destigmatize the layman's view of ED. "When men of 
all ages and backgrounds feel comfortable approaching their wives and doctors 
about their ED without embarrassment or hesitation, then the world will truly 
realize the monumental impact the drug has had on men's sexual health."

The growth in the sale of such drugs is necessitated by the growth in the 
number of patients suffering from sexual problems including impotence and ED. 
The UN estimates that more than 322 million men will be suffering from ED by 
the year 2025. 

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