hours of pounding away at their research, medical experts at British biotech
firm Futura Medical plc (FUM) were no closer to finding a way to convince
men to use condoms when having sex. But at some point all the hard work
paid off and inspiration struck. And thus the "Viagra condom"
The little blue condom is the long lost partner of the little blue pill and it just might
convince men to get off to buy condoms for a change. Marketed by
pharmaceutical giant Reckitt Benckiser, the new condom model, dubbed the
about to become a member of the Durex brand.
The device is close to receiving regulatory approval in Europe and the UK, with
Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB)
hoping to stick it in customers' shopping bags within a year. From there,
the company hopes that after more clinical trials, the device could get approval
for U.S. shoppers as well.
Designing the special rubber was no small feat. Finding the active
ingredient was trivial -- researchers went with a proven generic vasodilator
chemical, which engorges blood vessels to fight angina -- severe throbbing
chest pain that occurs when the heart isn't getting enough blood supply.
But it was far rougher figuring out how to keep the gel with the active
ingredient inside the condom so the vasodilator only touches the wearer during
sexual intercourse. There were also issues in the peer-reviewed medical
literature on how to create such a delivery package. However, researchers
worked through these problems to come up with a viable product.
States Futura Chief Executive James Barder in an interview with The
Wall Street Journal, "The challenge is having a stable product in a
condom — a gel that doesn't do anything detrimental to the condom. Some
products can degrade the latex very quickly. [The vasodilator] has to be
immobilized in the condom."
The company obtained patents on its findings to prevent any business rivals
from getting dirty and trying to steal the secret of the special
Given the recreational popularity of Viagra, which seems to pop on all sorts of
unauthorized outlets online, the "Viagra condom" seems destined to
achieve market penetration.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) today
are certainly a sticky problem for mankind. But the new condom fights
STIs both by getting men to perk up to the idea of purchasing protective
devices and by ensuring the condom doesn't slip off the user during the heat of
intercourse -- a surprisingly common problem.
STIs have long been sticking it to men and women, but with
the Viagra condom those naughty microbes may finally get their long-awaited
punishment, meeting mankind's stiffest resistance yet.