The ‘Pinking’ of Viagra Culture: Drug Industry Efforts to Create and
Repackage Sex Drugs for Women
● The success of ‘Viagra’ prompted the pharmaceutical industry to develop other drugs to treat
male sexual problems, as well as an incentive to support a medical approach to women’s sexual
problems and develop new sex drugs to treat those problems.
● Women’s sexual problems became increasingly medicalized defined and understood as a
largely physiologically based set of conditions called ‘female sexual dysfunction’ (FSD).
● Heart of the article focuses on 2 aspects of Viagra culture that facilitated drug industry to create
and expand a market for sex drugs for women
○ Hunt for the Pink Viagra to treat FSD
○ The increasing promotion and normalization of offlabel uses of men’s sex drugs to
Industry Consolidation of Power and Building of Capacity
Inflated Epidemiology Promotes a Medicalized View of Women’s Sexuality
● The importance of ‘4331’ study, which concluded that more than 4 out of 10 women have
sexual problems (43%), higher than that of men (31%).
● The pharmaceutical industry in particular have used this ‘inflated epidemiology; to expand a
medicalized perspective on women’s sexual problems.
○ Subsequent studies indicating lower prevalence rates and supporting
socialpsychological rather than physical factors as primary determinants of women’s
sexual problems receive almost no media attention.
Institutionalization of FSD in academic circles
● Solidify pharmamedical control over naming and treatment of women’s sexual problems
○ development of systems of disease classification amenable to medical approaches
○ creation for legitimized infrastructure for disseminating supporting research and
○ formation of an attendant professional organization