The Advertising Standards Authority's ruling that the Pfizer-backed ad raising awareness of the dangers of buying drugs online is not misleading or unduly distressing has put this issue back in the news. That's no bad thing.
I say this not because I'm interested in drug company profits but because I'm interested in men's health. By buying drugs online without a prescription you're not depriving drug companies. Global spending on prescription drugs was about $643 billion in 2006 so big pharma won't be passing the hat round anytime soon. What you are doing is depriving yourself of a diagnosis. By diagnosing yourself you might well miss something serious. Erection problems, for example, don't just happen - they are often the sign of potential killer diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Go and see your doctor and get a prescription before buying online.
The attractions of using the internet for health are obvious. That's why malehealth has had three million unique visitors in the last two years. And we know from our own survey that most men would consider buying drugs online in the right circumstances. So it's good to see some organisations rising to the challenge.
If you have a prescription there are umpteen online pharmacies to choose from. If you haven't, Dr Thom have been providing online treatment for erection problems for a while now. Today we report on a new online initiative that can enable the under 25s to test themselves for chlamydia, the most common sexually-transmitted infection at home in private. It's attracting web-savvy men in droves: a shrewd move because chlamydia is symptomless but dangerous - it can make men infertile as well as women.
Times are changing. Smart internet users don't have to turn to the pirates and risk buying dodgy pills, today there are plenty of safe online options and the number is growing.