According to Jude Selvaraj, Pfizer’s medical adviser in Singapore and Malaysia, “an estimated 20 percent of Asian men suffer from erectile dysfunction,” whereas on the US Web site, Pfizer claims “ED is more common than you might think. More than half of all men over 40 have some difficulty getting and maintaining an erection. The fact is, guys at any age can experience ED.” Since this is a US site, I assume Pfizer is talking about US men.

The context of Mr. Selvaraj’s remarks, which were published The China Post, aka AFP, was the launch of a new diagnostic kit to help men deal with erectile dysfunction. (Hat tip to Pharmalot for digging this up.)

“It is a prevalent issue,” Jude Selvaraj, Pfizer’s medical adviser in Singapore and Malaysia, told AFP at the launch of Pfizer’s new diagnostic kit to help men deal with erectile dysfunction.

“You are talking about 20 percent plus,” he said, giving a rough figure.

OK, which is it? 20%, “20 percent plus,” or 40%? Why does Pfizer imply that twice as many men in the US than in Asia suffer from ED? Are we American men inadequate? Is it obesity? Or, perhaps, Pfizer is bowing to cultural norms (you know, kissing some ass before Malaysia breaks Viagra’s patent):

Sex is still a taboo subject in much of Asia and many men are reluctant to admit they suffer from the problem, or to seek medical help, said Selvaraj.

A ha! Pfizer better not set the bar too high. But then again, maybe Asian men just don’t give a damn about “erectile quality”: “A survey released last week,” AFP reports, “said Asia’s lovers rate sex far less highly than those elsewhere around the globe, spend less time having intercourse and are not as likely to reach orgasm.” Their head just isn’t in the game!

Some more numbers were mentioned in the article:

According to Pfizer, which makes the anti-impotency drug Viagra, erectile dysfunction affects between 13 and 28 percent of all men aged 40 to 80.

The number of men suffering from the condition is estimated to increase to 322 million by 2025, from more than 152 million in 1995, Pfizer said.

I don’t know where Pfizer is getting these numbers from. I have pointed out before than ED drug marketers are engaged in a bit of BS here — ie, taking some government data and stretching it somewhat:

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, “Incidence [of ED] increases with age: About 5 percent of 40-year-old men and between 15 and 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience ED.” (See “ED Drug Sales Limp“.)

20%, 28%, 40%, 30 million Americans (Levitra’s claim)… whatever! It’s all MULTIPLE times the incidence cited by NIH.

But back to the interesting stuff: that new diagnostic kit! (see photo at top)

Pfizer’s new diagnostic kit, the Erection Hardness Score (EHS), grades erection hardness from one to four to provide a guide for assessing sexual status.

A score of four means the penis is completely rigid while a score of one means it is larger but not hard, Pfizer said in a statement.

“The EHS provides a quantitative measure of the degree of erection hardness and therefore treatment efficacy in patients with erectile dysfunction,” the firm [pun intended?] said.

Victoria Lehmann, a sex therapist from Britain, said the EHS was easy to use and would help couples address the problem. [I don’t see how!]

Lehmann likened a score of one to tofu. Four is similar to a cucumber, she said.

Several bloggers in the Pharma Blogosphere want to know what foods a score of 2 and 3 can be likened to. I would say 3 is a banana and 2 is 2-week old rhubarb. What do you think?