buy Viagra

In short, no. A cheaper generic version of Viagra — the blue pill for erectile dysfunction that is made by the drug company Pfizer — isn’t sold yet in the United States, though by late 2017 one is expected to be available.

“Any pharmacy that’s offering generic Viagra is probably using counterfeit product that’s not approved,” said Carmen Catizone, the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, a professional organization unaffiliated with drug makers.

While a generic form of Viagra, known as sildenafil, is made in some countries, bargain hunters may be buying sugar pills, or inadvertently getting a low dose of the drug. “The medication may be there, but it’s a much lower dose. Then the guy gets depressed because he thinks nothing is going to work,” said Dr. Darius Paduch, the director of sexual health and medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. “So he may stop having sex or never see a doctor.”

Medical problems can also arise if a patient gets fake Viagra that’s “substantially less effective” but doesn’t disclose that he got it from a suspect site touting cheap Viagra, Dr. Paduch said. “I will escalate their treatment thinking they took the prescription.” He might, for example, suggest penile injection therapy, which can have serious side effects for a man who has mild erectile dysfunction, as the injections are for more severe cases.

All the while, the patient with a mild case might have responded to bona fide Viagra from a legitimate pharmacy.

Shame is the issue, not cost, for some people. Even with a prescription, Dr. Paduch said some patients prefer to buy online or trek to the office for a free sample, rather than face the pharmacist. “They are so ashamed because of the stigma, which is completely stupid,” said Dr. Paduch, who used to be a paid research investigator for Eli Lilly, the maker of Cialis, another pill for erectile dysfunction.

Roger Bate, a pharmaceutical expert at the American Enterprise Institute, warned men not to answer a random spam email selling really cheap Viagra. “You’re running a significant risk,” he said, with some websites “not only trying to get your money and sell you a fake pill, but probably trying to steal your identity as well.” But, he said, real Viagra, made by Pfizer, is available from some foreign websites.

On its site, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy also lists vetted pharmacies where patients can “get safe and effective medication” at competitive prices, Mr. Catizone said.

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