China firm gets lift with drug for '140m impotent men'

Shanghai (AFP) –


A pharmaceutical firm claiming that 140 million men in China suffer from erectile dysfunction was given a massive stock market boost on Wednesday after winning approval to sell a Viagra-like drug in the country.

Shares of Hebei Changshan Biochemical Pharmaceutical surged by its 10 percent daily limit at the Shenzhen exchange after regulators gave one of its subsidiaries in southern Jiangsu province approval to manufacture a generic version of the drug.

In an attempt to explain the size of the market for the drug, Changshan, based in northern city of Shijiazhuang, claimed that over 140 million men in China suffer from erectile dysfunction, which Viagra-like drugs can fix.

"Assume 30 percent of them get treatment, the figure would be 42 million people," the firm, which mainly produces anti-clotting drug heparin, said in a statement to the Shenzhen exchange.

"Assume those accepted treatment could all use the meds multiple times, then the potential market size has the hope to reach tens of billions of yuan.

"The market space is vast."

China has 708 million men, latest available official figures showed, making one in every five men impotent based on Changshan's figures, whose authenticity was called into question after the announcement.

Changshan told the Securities Times newspaper that the firm did not exaggerate the figure and it had referenced two research reports.

Patents for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer blockbuster drug Viagra expired in China in 2014, leaving domestic firms able to develop generic drugs.