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Sexual Dysfunction - The quest for the new Viagra continues
Drug developers interested on the sexual dysfunction market are searching for the next Viagra. Companies are focusing on premature ejaculation and female hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which are suggested to be as prevalent as erectile dysfunction. As products advance through the pipeline, there are several challenges that will have to be addressed in order to succeed in these markets.
The erectile dysfunction market will remain the most attractive and accepted one among the different sexual dysfunction disorders for the foreseeable future, although Johnson & Johnson is well positioned to develop the premature ejaculation area with the launch of Priligy (dapoxetine) in the EU.
Companies entering the sexual dysfunction market will have to follow the example of Viagra (sildenafil, Pfizer) and invest heavily in direct to consumer marketing in the US. A strong marketing message will be vital to raising awareness and beginning the campaign to destigmatize the different disorders.
There is high R&D risk associated with the development of drugs for female sexual dysfunction due to the lack of clear disorder definition and trial endpoints, the strong placebo effect of drugs and the scrutiny of regulatory bodies. As such Boehringer Ingelheim's flibanserin and BioSante's LibiGel (testosterone) approval is not guaranteed.
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