25 June, 2021

Power Pill

The desi Viagra juggernaut rolls in. Will a low-cost sex revolution follow?

Power Pill

THE venue is the Narada Gana Sabha auditorium in Chennai, where Bharatnatyam dancers do their abhinaya for unrequited love and unsatiated liaisons. The day: July 9. This isn't the setting for a parade of the prim and prude—but the annual general meeting of a little-known company called Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals. This isn't time for an innocent arangetram—but time to talk about hardcore sex.

Managing director K. Raghavendra Rao delivers the sweetener. Sholinganallur in Kancheepuram, TN, where Orchid's labs are located, is about to join the ranks of Ringaskiddy in Cork, UK, where Pfizer's labs are located, as one of the few towns in the world to make sildenafilcitrate, the active ingredient in Viagra, the male impotence drug that's providing "the chemical cutting edge to the next sexual revolution".

The company has got permission from the Drug Controller of India (DCI) to make 39 tonnes of the chemical for export. It has applied for permission to make and sell pills of a Viagra-clone at home. It is even planning a...

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