Caverject is a brand name for the alprostadil injection treatment for erectile dysfunction, and is made by Pfizer. At the moment there is no ‘generic’ version of Caverject (although there is another injectable ED treatment containing the same active ingredient available, called Viridal).

Some fraudulent pharmacy sites may claim to have a non-branded or ‘generic’ version of Caverject for a cheaper price. However, in the majority of cases, medications sold by these sites may be counterfeit and unsafe. When buying treatment online, you should make sure the pharmacy you’re using is reputable.

On this page we will summarise the world of counterfeit drugs and specifically ED treatments, and explain how to avoid buying fake versions of Caverject.

How common are fake medicines?

The sale of counterfeit drugs online is a significant problem. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 50% of drugs that are being sold via the internet globally are counterfeit.

Many fake drugs may contain only traces or in some cases none of the advertised active ingredient, and as such, may not be effective at treating the symptoms they say they do (and therefore be a waste of money).

More worryingly though, fake drugs can contain any number of non-consumable ingredients (and therefore be dangerous).

The counterfeit ED market

Erectile dysfunction treatments are among the most counterfeited pharmaceutical products. In the last 3 years, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has reported that around £55 million worth of fake ED treatment has been seized and destroyed.

Steps have been taken by pharmaceutical companies to address the prevalence of fake ED treatment. For instance, Viagra Connect, a repackaged version of the popular medicine, was recently made available as a pharmacy-line treatment, partly with the intention to deter people from turning to illicit providers or counterfeit versions of the drug.

Regulators such as the NPA and GPhC have also introduced logo schemes to help consumers tell the difference between genuine and fake online pharmacies.

However the fake ED drug market is a large and ongoing problem, and one which will take time to fully address. So it is vital to be vigilant when ordering treatment online.

What sort of tactics do counterfeit sellers use?

Illicit sellers will often focus on selling as much as they can of their product cheaply, with little regard for proper processes or safety.

So, if the seller doesn’t provide any safety information on the medicine, such as ingredient listings or side effects warnings, this is is generally a good indicator that the seller is counterfeit.

Caverject is prescription only; so another way to tell if a seller is illicit is if they offer the treatment on a ‘no prescription required’ basis. An authorised seller must either ask a patient to present a prescription for treatment before providing it, or have a means in place to issue a prescription to the patient (such as through an online consultation process with a doctor).

‘Generic’ or non-branded Caverject is not available in the UK presently, and thus it doesn’t legally exist as an alternative to Caverject. At time of writing, the only other injectable treatments licensed in the UK for erectile dysfunction are Viridal and Invicorp.

Therefore if you see a site selling something called a ‘generic alprostadil injection’, there’s a good chance it is selling a treatment which is not authorised for sale or licensed.

How to be sure you’re buying Caverject from a genuine site

Generally, Caverject isn’t as counterfeited as oral treatments, as it’s an injection and a harder medicine to fake. But you should still be cautious when buying it online.

A regulated pharmacy will adhere to a number of practices when providing it.

Firstly, they’ll need to display a GPhC logo:

In the UK, all pharmacies are required by law to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). If they aren’t, or don’t have this logo, it’s a sign they may not be genuine. If you click on the logo, in most cases you should be directed to the pharmacy’s entry on the GPhC register.

At time of writing, this is the box Caverject (10mcg) is provided in:

It should contain Pfizer branding. You should be wary of sites offering medicines which appear to be in alternative packaging, with different designs.

When issuing a prescription only treatment, a legitimate pharmacy should either ask for a prescription, or have a process in place where a doctor can issue one. As part of this process, the doctor will need to assess your health and symptoms, and so may ask questions regarding these (be it through an online questionnaire or a video consultation). So you should avoid any site that simply offers to sell you a prescription medicine without undertaking any of the above checks.

Have a look around the website, and see if they carry contact information such as a phone number or a registered address, or a VAT number. If they don’t, then it could be an indication they aren’t operating legally.

Not all legitimate pharmacy sites present biographies of their clinical team, along with other official details such as their GMC number; but if they do, it’s generally a good sign.

You can read more about avoiding online pharmacy scams on our page: how to buy treatment online safely.

Page last reviewed:  26/09/2018