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This Small Irish Town Is Home to a Viagra Factory and There's Definitely Something in the Air (and Water)

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Residents of the Irish town of Ringaskiddy report that fumes from a local Viagra factory have been giving local men (and male dogs) random erections. Since the factory opened in 1998, residents have reported that you don’t need to ingest the drug to enjoy its famous reaction; just inhale.

“One whiff and you’re stiff,” said Debbie O’Grady, a bartender at the Ferry Boat Inn. “As they say, there’s something in the air—not that we need it, of course. But for some fellas with problems in that department it can be a blessing.”


According to legend, a baby boom followed the opening of the factory, as well as a tourism boom, as curious visitors came to see if the story of the Viagra Village was true. Locals say it’s not just humans who are reacting. Dogs “walk around in a state of sexual excitement,” said local nurse Fiona Toomey. “I think that Viagra must have got into the water supply.”

Others are concerned about the impact of releasing chemicals into the local environment. American chemical companies own most of the farmland surrounding the village, and Pfizer has operated there since 1969, producing numerous substances besides the little blue pill.

"I suppose it's a question of ecology versus economics," said resident Martin O’Driscoll. "I've seen a lot of people emigrating out of here. But we also had to put up with a lot of shit from the chemical companies for a while. Pfizer told us what they were pouring into the water was 100 percent safe, but it's farcical to suggest that any chemical company is completely clean."

Pfizer says there is nothing to the rumors surrounding Ireland’s Viagra Village.

“Pfizer manufacturing facilities operate to high environmental standards and are regulated and licensed by health authorities and environmental agencies which have strict protocols to ensure that emissions from manufacturing sites have no effect on human health or the environment,” a company spokesperson said.

Coming Soon: Even More Viagra

Another lift for the drug: Viagra will soon be available over the counter. The drug has been reclassified from “prescription only” status to “pharmacy” status in the UK, which means a quick conversation with a pharmacist and $27 (£20) will yield customers four pills of the compound known as Sildenafil. In 2018, Pfizer plans to launch a non-prescription version of the drug in the US called Viagra Connect. In addition to making it easier for men to get their hands on the drug at a moment’s notice, the move is expected to reduce the market for fake erection dysfunction drugs. Counterfeit Viagra is a problem around the world, appearing at markets and online.

“The problem is significant. It’s because these drugs are available mostly online, either from online pharmacies or from social media sites and the like,” said Brian Donnelly, North American director of the global security team for Pfizer. “Men generally don’t want to talk about ED (erectile dysfunction). It’s almost like a perfect storm for the counterfeiters.”

Pfizer has more than just counterfeiters to contend with: The patent for Viagra has just expired, which means generic versions of the drug will now be widely available. Two generics, by Teva Pharmaceuticals and Greenstone, hit the market in December. This brings the cost of male pleasure down significantly, a detail that will be felt not just in the bedroom but by taxpayers. The US military spends about $84 million on erectile dysfunction drugs per year. The price of a Pfizer pill is $61.54, while the generic will be around $30-$35 per pill. Of course, cheaper prices will likely fuel even more demand for the drug.

“Making a generic version of the pill will allow even more men who have not been able to afford it to try the generic version. With a less expensive alternative on the market, I see doctors prescribing and patients increasing for the generic version of the drug,” says John Santilli, president of Access Market Intelligence, who says that 62 million men have used the drug. In June 2018, the price will drop even further as more generic makers will be allowed into the market.

It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the communities in which generic drug factories are located. If residents report a rise in activity, it will be hard to ignore.