Viagra goes on sale in Japan

Published on .

TOKYO--Sales of the anti-impotence drug Viagra started in Japan on March 23 amid hopes that the country would become the largest market for the medication outside the U.S. Based on surveys done by Viagra marketer Pfizer and other companies, the potential market for Viagra in Japan is about seven million customers.

Production of Viagra started in Japan following approval by the Health and Welfare Ministry in January. The ministry rushed the drug through the approval process, saying it was safer to put the drug on the market quickly and legally then to allow the black market for Viagra to grow.

The ministry did not allow for Viagra to be covered by health insurance and regulated sales based on a doctor's prescription.

For its initial marketing efforts in Japan, Pfizer is planning symposiums for doctors as well as spreading medical information about Viagra in journals and brochures for health care professionals. After about a half year on the market, Pfizer will study the idea of having a direct marketing campaign for Viagra.

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

In this article:
Most Popular