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Where Is Viagra Made?

A drug is ultimately just another product, as far as manufacturing it is concerned.  It’s assembled according to standards, packaged, shipped, put on the shelves, and purchased.  But where does Viagra start?  Where does it go along the way?  And who does what?

- It starts in Pfizer’s bulk production facility, which it operates in Ringaskiddy, County Cork, Ireland, along with other major drug manufacturers such as Novartis, GlaxoSmithKlein, Recordati, and Centocor.  Ten miles from the major port of Cork, the Ringaskiddy facility is responsible for putting together the bulk chemicals of the drug, using reagents and disposing of the organic waste generated by creating the custom molecules, which takes 1100 employees.  The waste adds up: for every pound of Viagra, three liters of organic waste is created.  Viagra demand can run as high as 45 tons of the drug a year.

-        The locals at Ringaskiddy believe the fumes from the Viagra plant make them more sexually athletic and fertile.  The birth rate in Ringaskiddy is a little higher, but Pfizer denies the fumes from the plant have any effect, especially since the plant has no chimney and releases no emissions.  That hasn’t stopped two scripts from being written about Ringaskiddy, including one optioned by Madonna for $2.6 million (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/1432373/Love-is-in-the-air.html)

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-        From Ringaskiddy, the bulk elements are shipped to production facilities in America and France in shipping containers.  This is to prevent the finished drug from being stolen and sold on the black market, especially in the Third World, where counterfeit and stolen medication are booming business and 60% of the drugs for sale are counterfeit.  Similarly, the exact location of these facilities is kept quiet to reduce thievery and hijacking.  Stolen Viagra can be worth $20+ per pill on the black market, and the raw ingredients can be worth even more.

-        At the combination facility, the ingredients are combined and packaged.  Included in each bottle is a RFID tracking chip to verify quality and prevent forgery.  Viagra is one of the most commonly forged medications in the world, and the RFID chips help keep the percentage of fake medicine on the market lower than 1% in the developed world, according to the WHO (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs275/en/index.html).  RFID tags are also attached to each case and each pallet of Viagra, and all of these tags will be checked before the medication is stocked.

-        From there, each package is shipped to warehouses in each country Pfizer sells pharmaceuticals in, and then to individual pharmacies.  At every port, the RFID tags are checked, right up until it reaches pharmacy shelves.

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