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Specially trained sniffer dogs are being used for the first time in Finland to aid customs authorities in searching for fake Viagra pills.
The "Viagra dogs", as they have been dubbed, underwent specific training for their task for Pfizer, which is the pharmaceutical company that manufactures Viagra, one of the world's most popular medications for erectile dysfunction. The sniffer dogs are so effective at their task for Pfizer because they can only detect sildenafil citrate - the active ingredient in Viagra - and not any other impotence medication. This is because Cialis and Levitra, Viagra's main competitors, contain different ingredients and would as such smell different and would not be detected by the dogs.
Bringing in these dogs is the latest move in an ongoing campaign to reduce the levels of importation of these kinds of medications in Israel, which as a country has the eighth highest amount of counterfeit medications in the world. Fake versions of Viagra are illegal because the product is still under patent. This means that any generic alternatives will not be subject to the same stringent regulations and as such may contain ingredients that may be dangerous to particular individuals. In some cases, fake Viagra pills are actually just sugar pills which will not do anything to treat erectile dysfunction.
The "Viagra dogs" are named Springer and Willem and are a mixed breed spaniel and a border collie, respectively. They have been trained to be able to detect the presence of counterfeit Viagra even if it is well-packaged.