There has definitely been a good deal of controversy over Viagra®, it’s use and more recently, it’s side effects among some unfortunate patients however, apart from the specific drug itself and the effects, reasons and results of it’s use, there has been another controversy of which only those involved would probably be aware. I am referring to the purchase and use of Generic Brands of Sildenafil Citrate.
Those involved being those who operate online generic Pharmacies, those who purchase through them and, by no means least, the thousands of Affiliates who market these.
Did you notice a moment ago when I called it Sildenafil Citrate and not Viagra®? It is, and has been referred to as Viagra®, regardless of whether Pfizer’s(TM) original brand or a generic version is being talked about, since it’s introduction to the Pharmacy industry, not to mention the public.
Although I thoroughly respect Pfizer’s(TM) right to guard it’s own trade mark with jealousy and, especially make sure that website domains are not being registered using their ‘property’, I can’t help thinking that, at least in many cases, most people’s use of the Viagra® moniker is more part of our social and language set than any deliberate attempt to profit by using the name, albeit in a legally questionable way.
There are plenty of examples, where what was originally a ‘brand’ or ‘trade name’ has become the popular means of identifying an object, product or other such item. Obviously, the use of these brand names and their becoming part of our descriptive language generally applies to the ‘first’ or ‘original’ of the given item in question. I can’t give too many examples, being Australian; mine would only mean something to my countrymen. I am only familiar with a couple of examples from say… the US or the UK but I’m sure everyone gets the picture.
Having said this however, I think the crux of the matter lies not so much in the ‘name’ itself, but the use of the Viagra® name to describe and market the generic equivalents – and they are equivalents, PROVIDED they do contain the same active ingredients and if they are made and packaged with the care and controls that most people from developed countries expect from such products.
The name ‘Viagra®’ belongs to Pfizer(TM) and there’s no doubt or argument that can circumvent that fact however, to use the term ‘Generic Viagra’, provided it’s not used in a company name or exclusive website domain, is simply a means to describe to visitors and potential customers what you are offering. For instance, if I were to advertise ‘Generic Levis’, people would know that I am not selling Levi Strauss(TM) jeans. The word ‘generic’ makes that quite clear and I’m sure there is no way any misunderstanding could result.
In fact, if there were any misunderstanding, it would be in favor of Levis(TM) because, although it’s totally untrue technically and in reality, generic still means ‘inferior’ to many people. Of course, generic means ‘non-brand name’. There is nothing to suggest that the word does, or ever has meant anything else. Although realistically, in terms of some products that are generic, there are definitely cases where ‘generic’ has become a little ‘synonymous’ with ‘not as good as the original’. A number of generic or ‘no-name’ food items come to mind.
Not so, with generic medications. They either have the active ingredients, in the prescribed quantities, or they don’t. If they don’t, they are not generic they are forgeries! Forgery means forgery but generic does not. Generic means ‘the same but not the original’, (and more often much cheaper!).
The controversy, as long-winded as it has been, could be coming to a close, for a couple of good reasons. I predict that the close of the issue and consequent legal approval of a number of generic drugs will occur sooner rather than later. After all, in the ‘generic drug’ category, it has been progressing for some time now. How many different brands (and ‘no name’ versions) of aspirin or acetaminophen can you now choose from?
The patent which allows Pfizer(TM) to claim exclusivity with regard to the chemical is enforceable until 2013 however, one of the patents concerning the discovery of its positive effects on impotence, has been withdrawn in the UK (where Viagra® was first discovered). According to a report of the court case, it was determined that the information forming the basis of the patent was already in the ‘Public Domain’ at the time of the patent application.