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Irish Village Where Viagra Fumes Affect Locals: Real or Myth?

Erectile dysfunction

Once a sleepy fishing village, Ringaskiddy in Ireland’s County Cork has become a bustling industrial center in recent years.

To hear the locals tell it, neither man nor beast in the Irish seaside village of Ringaskiddy needs any help to get an erection. They claim that the very air they breathe and the water they drink contain enough sildenafil citrate — the active ingredient in Viagra — to ensure male potency without any additional assistance.

They point to the presence on nearby Little Island of a Pfizer plant that produces the little blue pill that over the past two decades has revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction. It is a medication that temporarily improves blood flow to the male genitalia, overcoming the single biggest cause of erection problems — insufficient blood flow to the penis.

Pfizer Says It’s Just a Myth

Not so fast, say Pfizer company officials. They contend that such reports about the local air and water are nothing more than “an amusing myth,” telling the Sunday Times that the company’s “manufacturing processes have always been highly sophisticated as well as highly regulated.” These safeguards, corporate spokesmen insist, ensure that no detectable traces of Viagra’s active ingredient are infiltrating the atmosphere or the local water supply around Ringaskiddy.

Only a few decades back, Ringaskiddy was a quiet fishing village along the western side of Cork Harbor in the far south of Ireland. In the latter half of the 20th century, its access to the sea and other forms of transport transformed the village into a busy intermodal transportation and industrial center. Pfizer was one of the first to recognize the Ringaskiddy area’s potential as a manufacturing center, opening a food chemicals factory there in 1969.

Other Drugmakers Follow

Also drawn to the Ringaskiddy area were other large pharmaceutical companies, including Wyeth and Warner-Lambert, both major American-based drug manufacturers. Pfizer manufacturing facilities in Ringaskiddy and its environs increased when it acquired Warner-Lambert in 2000 and Wyeth in 2009.

The Pfizer plant that manufactures Viagra is actually located in Little Island, an industrial center that sits across from Ringaskiddy on the northern shores of the Lough Mahon, an inlet from the Celtic Sea.

Notwithstanding Pfizer’s denials that the air around Ringaskiddy carries potent fumes containing Viagra’s active ingredient, the locals seem unconvinced. Debbie O’Grady, an employee at the village’s popular Ferry Boat Inn, told a reporter for the Sunday Times, “One whiff and you’re stiff.” Debbie’s mom was quick to second her daughter’s assessment of the fumes from the Pfizer plant. “We’ve been getting the love fumes for years now for free,” she said, adding that many new male residents seem to have been drawn to the area in recent years.

Viagra

A diagnosis of erectile dysfunction should not be considered the death knell for your sex life, which can be continued with the help of Viagra and other medications designed to overcome ED symptoms.

Did the Drug Get into Local Water Supply?

In answer to Pfizer’s vehement assertions that its strict environmental safeguards make the release of chemicals — either in air or water — a virtual impossibility, Fiona Toomey, a former worker at the Viagra plant, suggests they may have gotten into the local water supply before standards were tightened.

Toomey told the Sunday Times, “I think that Viagra must have got into the water supply. I’m convinced that’s what happened at the very beginning before they were so closely regulated.”

So widespread are the reports — ill-founded or not — that the water supply around Ringaskiddy has erection-friendly properties that they inspired a 2009 Irish-made motion picture entitled Holy Water. In some markets, the film was released under the alternative title of Hard Times. Regardless of which title it bore, the movie was neither a critical nor a popular success.

Viagra Shipment Hijacked

The central theme of the motion picture focuses on the hijacking of a Viagra-laden shipment from a Pfizer factory near the fictional village of Kilcoulins Leap. The town, home to a spring called the Holy Well that at one time had supported a thriving spa operation, has fallen on hard times of late, with few jobs for locals.

A band of local ne’er-do-wells, unemployed and desperate for money, decides to hijack a consignment of Viagra that they can sell for a hefty profit in Amsterdam. Before they can get the stolen Viagra to the Netherlands, local law enforcement agencies, rallied to solve the crime by the drug’s manufacturer, dramatically increase their search for the missing drugs.

Desperate to hide any evidence of their role in the hijacking until the heat is off, the crooks decide to conceal the stolen Viagra down the Holy Well. If you guessed that the stolen goods infiltrate the village’s water supply and lead to a suddenly reinvigorated manhood in Kilcoulins Leap, you’re on the right track. Unfortunately, the tale was a bit too predictable for both cinemagoers and movie critics and thus failed to create box office magic.

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The First of the PDE5 Inhibitors

For those few who may be unfamiliar with Viagra, it’s helpful to know a little bit about its background. Pfizer’s little blue pill was the first of a family of medications known as PDE5 inhibitors, so called because they temporarily disable the phosphodiesterase-5 enzyme that can interfere with erectile function, particularly in men whose vascular function is already compromised.

Although it has been followed to market by a handful of similar drugs, including Levitra, Cialis, Staxyn, and Stendra, Viagra remains a popular choice among men whose erection problems are vascular in origin. By sidelining the PDE5 enzyme for four to six hours, it opens up a window during which men suffering from ED are better able to get and keep an erection firm and long-lasting enough for intercourse.

How the Drug Works

Sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra, holds the PDE5 enzyme at bay, which allows the artery-dilating effects of a substance called cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP, to function without hindrance. It’s cGNP that signals the smooth muscle tissue lining the inner walls of arteries to relax. As these arteries relax, blood flow increases.

In men whose vascular systems are unimpaired, the presence and activity of the PDE5 enzyme has little effect on erectile function. As quickly as the PDE5 enzyme breaks down cGMP, the body produces more to take its place. However, for men whose arteries have become clogged with fatty plaque, the PDE5 enzyme sabotages erectile function. It breaks down cGMP more rapidly than the body can replace it, thus making it very difficult, if not impossible, to get a penetration-worthy erection.

First Developed in the Early ‘90s

Developed in a Pfizer pharmaceutical research laboratory in Sandwich, England, in the early 1990s, sildenafil citrate was first put forward as a possible treatment for angina pectoris and hard-to-control high blood pressure. Clinical trials to test its efficacy for those purposes were disappointing, showing only minimal benefits.

However, the Pfizer researchers testing sildenafil citrate as a treatment for angina and hypertension noticed that male participants in the clinical trials were experiencing a curious side effect. The drug seemed to make it easier to get and keep an erection, even among some of the study participants who had previously been diagnosed with ED.

The Rest Is History 

Pfizer then abandoned its pursuit of sildenafil citrate as a cardiac medication and began looking more closely at its effects on erectile function. The rest, as they say, is history.

As this is being written, one of the final national markets where Pfizer retained market exclusivity on Viagra is opening up to generic competition. Although the pharmaceuticals giant’s U.S. patent on Viagra does not expire until April 2020, Pfizer in late 2013 reached an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals that allowed Teva to market a generic formulation of the drug beginning on December 11, 2017.

Concurrent with the introduction of Teva’s generic Viagra, Pfizer began selling its own generic formulation of the popular ED medication. The Pfizer version of generic Viagra is being manufactured by Greenstone LLC, a major generic drugmaker that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer. The introduction of generic Viagra, which carries a price that’s half or less than that of the brand-name pill, will open the market to men who previously were unable to afford the popular medication.

Only Sold by Prescription in the US

Viagra

Pfizer, headquartered in New York City, is an international pharmaceuticals manufacturer and the drugmaker that introduced Viagra to the world.

Under current regulations, both brand-name and generic formulations of Viagra can be sold in the United States only by prescription. You can get a prescription from your regular physician or urologist, which then can be filled at the local pharmacy or ordered online from a trustworthy supplier such as AccessRx.com.

If you decide to order Viagra from AccessRx, you can fax your doctor’s prescription or scan and email it to AccessRx along with your order. If you don’t yet have a prescription and would prefer not to discuss your erection problems with your regular doctor, AccessRx can set up a complimentary online consultation with one of its team of licensed U.S. physicians. You will be required to fill out a questionnaire detailing your symptoms of ED and overall medical history, as well as supplying a list of all other medications you are taking. If the doctor reviewing your questionnaire determines that you are an appropriate candidate for the drug, he or she will authorize a prescription. To learn more about erectile dysfunction and the medications prescribed to treat it, click below to reach AccessRx’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

 

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About Don Amerman

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Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+