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Judge strips lead from pencil

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Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been deprived of its European patent for the active ingredient of Viagra.

The stiff and potentially disasterous judgement rules that the company's 1993 patent is invalid since other companies had previously pointed to the use of sildenafil citrate as a treatment for the droops. The loss could be hard on Pfizer, who have made millions from the drug.

Interestingly, Pfizer originally developed Viagra as a treatment for heart conditions such as angina. Several human guinea pigs soon happily discovered that it put the lead back in their pencils. The rest is history.

Bootnote:
There's a story going around Vulture Central that the bite of the black widow spider induces a state of prolonged priapism. The scorpion's sting is reputed to have a similar effect. Do any readers have first-hand experience? Photos would be cool.

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