The early years of ED medication were filled with exceptionally bizarre headlines and beliefs about the drug, as people got to grips with the new solution to an age-old condition.
The consequence of this is that before people could readily buy sildenafil online and ED treatment was largely normalised, you saw a lot of truly bizarre stories.
One of the most surreal, now immortalised in the comedy film Love in Kilnerry, is that there is an Irish village where the air contains an ED medication and so breathing in can provide some rather pronounced effects.
Possibly the most bizarre part of the rumour is that it is true, mostly.
Separating Fact From Fiction
Love in Kilnerry, based in a fictional village in County Donegal, is about the elderly residents of a small remote town that is driven into chaos when a chemical plant nearby changes the way it makes a certain compound used in dog shampoos.
This leads to an announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that a byproduct of this change is that the residents’ libidos would be increased. Hilarity ensues.
Much like any good story, there is a nugget of truth amidst the fiction, but to find it we need to move away from County Donegal, south-west to County Cork.
There, near to the tiny village of Ringaskiddy, are four of the biggest Pfizer manufacturing plants outside of the United States, as much of the farmland surrounding the 370 people in the village was sold in the 1970s to not only Pfizer, but also GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson And Johnson, and other pharmaceutical firms.
By the late 1990s, it was used to create the first batches of sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient for Viagra. This led to increased fame and prosperity for the residents of the tiny town, but not without reservations and rumours running rampant.
The rumour, long denied by Pfizer themselves, is that the fumes that come from the manufacturing plants contain enough sildenafil citrate to cause an arousing effect. Allegedly, some men even stood downwind of the Pfizer factories to get a bigger dose.
Some locals even claim it led to a baby boom in 1998.
One local summed it up succinctly: “One whiff and you’re stiff.”
There are also rumours that the active ingredient also made it into the water supply, leading to the spread of a satirical story in 2019 that it affected a large number of sheep that was spread by several international news outlets before being quickly retracted.
Pfizer, of course, have always denied what they describe as an “amusing myth”, and claim that they always had a careful manufacturing process that would not cause this.
Regardless of their statement, the image of Ringaskiddy as a place where love is in the air has stuck, and whilst local residents were initially father annoyed by the rumours and by journalists publishing them, they have somewhat relaxed their opinions since. When ED medication went from a prescription-only US medication to a worldwide phenomenon, Ringaskiddy stood in the centre of the Viagra boom, and many of its residents reaped the rewards.