Move over, Viagra. There's a new sex drug in town
Call it the anti-Viagra. It's not a product for the man who can't get the party started. It's for the man who ends the party too soon.
Competition is heating up to treat premature ejaculation, or PE, which may afflict one in three men at some point in their lives—and not just when they're teenagers.
His 4-year-old company makes and markets Promescent, an FDA-approved, over-the-counter spray to treat PE. The spray uses lidocaine to reduce sensitivity and allow for longer performance. It is absorbed quickly so as not to be transferred to sexual partners. "It doesn't diminish the climax," said Abraham.
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A rival product called Tempe uses prilocaine and is coming to market in Europe. It was created by Dr. Mike Wyllie, the man who invented Viagra. That drug has even received joking attention from late night host Jimmy Kimmel, who noted: "My parents live in Tempe."
Jokes aside, the real question is, what's taken so long? Way back when, Masters and Johnson determined that the average man reaches climax in about four minutes, while the average woman takes 10 to 20 minutes.
Tragic beginning for company
Men who suffer from PE usually don't last more than a minute. Current treatments include off-label use of antidepressants, which can have side effects. New products aim to avoid that.
Abraham said Promescent sales will hit $1.5 million this year and top $4 million in 2014. He credits the product's growth to referrals from a network of urologists.
Most sales are online, though Abraham is negotiating with retailers for more brick and mortar space.
The story of how Promescent came to market, though, is complicated by tragedy. The product was created by Dr. Ron Gilbert: "A guy you'd want your sister to marry," said Abraham.
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Gilbert was gunned down in his office earlier this year. The shooting may have been a case of mistaken identity.
"Ron's death was a complete tragedy, and it set us back," said Abraham. "We lost a tremendous amount of history." However, he feels the company's board has the scientific gravitas to keep moving forward. "No one person will ever stop the success of the company."
Abraham's own journey to the company was also unusual. He was the retired CEO of a semiconductor engineering firm who had become restless. Gilbert was his urologist. One day the physician told Abraham about Promescent and wanted advice on commercializing it.
Abraham eventually put in $700,000 of his own money and came aboard. The next year, Promescent was featured on "The Dr. Oz Show," and sales began to take off.
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