As the last patents on the erectile dysfunction drug run out, interest in finding new treatments has been renewed
Are we witnessing the end of an era for Viagra and Pfizer? Since the famous “little blue pill” exploded on to the market in 1998, becoming the fastest selling drug in history, the American pharmaceutical giant has made vast sums marketing it to erectile dysfunction sufferers all over the world. Within three months of its launch, Viagra had already earned Pfizer $400m, and over the past two decades, it has consistently generated annual sales to the tune of $1.8bn.
However, this will soon come to an end, as in 2020, Pfizer’s remaining patents on Viagra expire for good. A whole host of generic versions have emerged in the past six years, often in quirky forms such as mint strips or breath sprays, as Pfizer’s grip on the rights to the drug has slowly loosened. Soon, these are expected to flood the market, as manufacturers jostle for a slice of the pie.
GTN could potentially be applied directly to the penis as a gel or cream, with near instantaneous results
Desperation has pushed many into private clinics that offer shockwaves, stem cell infusions or injections of plasma
Sick of being overweight and worried about his health, Andy Welch knew it was time for drastic action. Then he stumbled across Man v Fat
I have always been overweight. I was 10lb (4.5kg) when I was born and it kind of went from there. I was 10 stone (64kg) by the age of 10, 13st (83kg) at 13 and 16st (102kg) by 16. My age and weight matching was a worry – and lasted until I was 21.
There were diets along the way. When I was younger, my parents tried various approaches to get me to lose weight – gentle persuasion, desperate pleas, even financial bribes. I was referred to a hospital dietitian who had a go, too. When I was a bit older, I joined a gym, and throughout my teens and at university I tried whatever fad was going: SlimFast, the Atkins, the GI diet and its closely related Low GL version. I went through a phase of drinking grapefruit juice after every meal because I had read it stopped any fat eaten being absorbed, and I once spent a hungry fortnight eating nothing but Rice Krispies after vaguely recalling the Olympic sprinter John Regis explaining how he had managed his weight by eating only cereal. Unsurprisingly, it did not work.
Procedures carry high risk of complications ‘and should almost never be carried out’
Procedures to make penises larger do not work, are “ineffective and risky” and leave many men physically or psychologically scarred, research reveals, with an expert saying they should almost never be carried out and saying that men were being exploited by “charlatans”.
There is “scant” evidence that the range of procedures men undergo in a bid to enlarge their penis actually produce that result, according to a review by British experts.
Every week, around the country, groups of men meet for some straight-talking therapy. Could this be the answer to the male mental health crisis?
A stranger has just thrown a ball at me and asked me how my week has been. It’s Monday night, and I’m sitting in a circle of a dozen men in a chilly community centre. This ball obliges me to tell the gang about my current emotional state. I have spent my entire adult life carefully avoiding situations like this. I came to Andy’s Man Club with my eyes open, thinking I was ready to share. But that’s because I expected a different sort of group therapy session; a place where normal blokes could open up without the corny bullshit that puts so many of us off this sort of thing. No one said anything about a ball.
These men are mostly working class and middle-aged; a few are in their 20s. There is one much older bloke, who chuckles: “I used to deal with my frustrations by wrapping a pool cue round someone’s head.” When I tell them that I have travelled here from out of town to take part in the group, they seem touched (to protect their privacy, I won’t say exactly where the meeting takes place).
Emotional sharing was not part of my youth. I thought feeling miserable was something you tried to ignore
My older brother told me: ‘You're fucking nuts, mate, and you need a doctor.’ It was just what I needed
Talking about feelings doesn’t have to be in an intense environment that can put men off. It might be through a football or comedy club
I have an extremely large penis. According to an online size chart, I’m in the top 1% in the world. It’s not something that you can really brag about or bring up at dinner parties, but it does have an interesting impact on your sex life.
For many men, the idea of an enormous penis may seem like a golden ticket, but it isn’t without complications. When my wife first saw me naked she was rather intimidated by the idea of penetrative sex, and it took us several months of practice before we were even partially successful. We’ve been together almost five years and I could count on one hand the number of times we’ve managed to achieve full penetration.
When I do routine surgery, I listen to music, but something like this requires silence and precision focus
I can’t reveal much about the anonymous young man who this year became the world’s first recipient of a transplanted penis and scrotum. All I can say is he’s American and a soldier who stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2010. His legs were blown off as well as his genitals and abdomen. It was a devastating injury.
But he recovered well and learned to walk again with prosthetic limbs. He’s very mobile and regained a huge amount of independence. Outwardly, you might not know he was different from other men his age; but for eight years he found it hard to have a relationship and was unable to have sex. Despite this, he has an excellent mental attitude, which is what made him an ideal candidate for such pioneering surgery. We had many conversations about the benefits and risks, such as the operation failing or the penis not working. There was never any doubt in his mind: having a penis again was his priority.