Sildenafil (Viagra generics) purchased from internet pharmacies gets put to the quality test.

There is “pharm grade” bodybuilding drugs, and there are “research chemical” grade drugs. The difference between the two is believed to be (for some, but not all drugs) significant.  Many believe the pharm grade drugs are superior.  While the latest drug testing paper is not a head to head comparison, it does give us information on the quality of pharm grade sildenafil (brand name Viagra).  Sildenafil citrate is used by men all over the world.  Bodybuilders like it to help with anabolic steroid induced erectile disfunction, or just for an extra good time.  Many steroids (nandrolone or “deca”) can cause erectile disfunction, it is also common in Post Cycle Therapy (PCT).  To put it’s popularity into perspective:

“Sildenafil (Viagra(R)) is a top-selling, perhaps the best-selling illicit drug sold on the Internet [BBC News 2002].”

Specifically researchers at Texas A&M University wanted to compare 14 generic sildenafil products (all purchased online) vs. the American made Pfizer Viagra (the little blue pill) [Ref 1].  The goal was to quantify the impurities in all 15 brands, and determine the quality and safety of generic sildenafil vs. Viagra.

For the study they used the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) standards by which defines the standards of drug quality by three criteria:

  1. Reporting Threshold – Any amount of impurity above this threshold should be reported to regulating authorities (ex, FDA).
  2. Identification Threshold – The limit above which an impurity should be identified.
  3. Qualification Threshold – If the impurity exists above “X” amount is it biologically safe based on existing data.

The above standards are very strict, and built for the pharmaceutical drug world.  If a dietary supplement were held to these standards we might see a shitload of spiked impurity reports.  A typical daily dose of sildenafil is 100 mg’s, which is what this analysis chose to use as the baseline comparison.

Brand name Viagra was purchased with a prescription from a U.S. pharmacy.  The other 14 generic samples were purchased online based on leads from Google searches.  The idea was to make these purchases from online pharmacies that a typical internet surfer might end up clicking too.  As you can see in this table, the majority of the samples came from India:

generic sildenafil quality test

Internet Pharmacy Sildenafil is Legit

HPLC analysis of all 15 samples found that all were within  United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards of 90-110% of the labeled dosage.  6 of the 15 (including name brand Viagra) were within 98-102% of label claims.  Overall, pretty great results for the generics.  The authors go on to discuss the impurities found in all samples (including Viagra).  All but 5 (Viagra included) were found to violate the ICH standards and would need reporting, however the levels of impurities in most cases were below 200 micrograms, with a couple of samples exceeding 1 to 2 mg’s (of the 100 mg serving).  The impurities themselves were not identified but believed to be by-products of the manufacturing process or degradation.  In other words, the likelihood of the impurities being dangerous seems minimal.  Of course the authors of the paper (funded by the American Heart Association) goes on to indicate these online pharmacies are dangerous, and people should not use generic sildenafil (sigh).




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