Viagra- a tool for conservation of species

I am not referring to our species, although I guess I could be.

No, the species that viagra will protect are those previously used in oriental medicines.

Now, I suppose that a few oriental medicines have real and measurable benefits.  I suspect that as more medicines tested in double-blind studies become available, fewer and fewer oriental medicines will be sought.

From the Korea Times (in an ‘https:’ format as they often and inexplicably are):

The oriental medicine market has faced setbacks over the past few years and observers are pointing their fingers at the rapid spread of erectile dysfunction treatment drugs as one of the major causes.

According to the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) and related parties, Sunday, about 71,000 tons of materials used in traditional medicines were traded here last year, the smallest annual volume since 2004.

Experts pick up a couple of reasons why the fever for alternative medicines, which had been the go-to solutions for diseases for so long here before the advent of Western products, is falling.

One is demographical – accustomed to Western-style medication and surgery, young Koreans do not like the old-fashioned remedies involving herbal medicine and acupuncture.

…and they do like medicines that actually have more than a placebo effect.

…In other words, erectile dysfunction drugs are regarded as substitutes for traditional oriental medicines. Economically speaking, when inexpensive substitutes are widely available, the demand for the original products goes down and so do their prices and trade.

The solution is that the original products should cut prices to compete with the cheap substitutes or somehow differentiate themselves. The problem; neither of these are easy for the oriental medicine industries, analysts point out.

I suspect oriental medicine could easily compete with western medicine – all it needs to do is show it’s effectiveness in blind- and double-blind- tests.  Is this really so hard for the author, Kim Tae-gyu, to admit?

Anyway, I am happy with the news for two reasons.  First, as must be clear, it is good to see ‘woo’ and superstition be left behind.  Second, although I don’t know what ingredients go into oriental impotence medicines, I suspect that some  endangered animals will now be somewhat less endangered.  As oriental medicine loses it’s glamour, perhaps the harvesting of bear bile will become less common as well.

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