How big is the problem?
According to an article in Sky News, erectile dysfunction drugs make up 90% of all the counterfeit drugs that are seized by authorities in the UK, and the numbers are growing. In 2012-2013, about $3.3 million of illegal erectile dysfunction drugs were snagged. But by 2016, that number was a whopping $23.15 million. The last five years have brought in more than $65 million worth of unlicensed erectile dysfunction drugs.
When asked about the size of the illegal erectile dysfunction drug epidemic, Danny Lee-Frost, who heads operations for Enforcement Group, told Sky News that black market erectile dysfunction drugs “dwarf anything else we seize.”
As Lee-Frost explains it, “When I first started doing this, you’d get people flying out to India … coming back with a couple suitcases … and dealing it all from their spare bedroom [online]. Now you’ve got organized crime involved. It’s a big, big business.”
In the U.S., the main legal erectile dysfunction drugs are Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but there are also tons of fake or unregulated erectile dysfunction “cures.”
Who’s taking ED drugs?
According to Raymond Francis, a sexual psychotherapist who spoke with Sky News, this new group of erectile dysfunction drug misusers tend to be under 35 and “not in [a] long-term relationship.” As he explains it, the pills serve as “an insurance policy for performance.”
Some of the men using the erectile dysfunction drugs at parties are doing so to cancel out the negative sexual effects of alcohol and other drugs.
Francis says that the “plethora of sexual imagery through pornography” has played a big role in men feeling pressure to perform sexually. Francis says he doesn’t have any patients with physiological issues, so it’s likely that they’re psychologically dependent on erectile dysfunction drugs to live up to unrealistic standard shown in pornography.