Chinese patients with erection problems go to see doctors 22 months on average after developing the disease, much longer than the average six months in Western nations, according to an authoritative nationwide survey.
The investigation covered more than 1,000 ED patients in more than 10 cities for six months, said Jiang Hui, deputy director of the reproductive centre of Beijing People's Hospital. The investigation is believed to be the first systematic survey made by Chinese authoritative medical institution on Chinese men's sexual health.
According to the survey, revealed at the end of last month, 52.5 per cent of Chinese men over 40 years old suffer from ED to some extent, more than 90 per cent of ED patients conceded that the disease had badly disturbed their sexual lives and influenced their own feeling of masculine spirit at the same time.
The Chinese ED patients go to doctors 22 months after experiencing symptoms on average while those in Beijing and Shanghai wait 34.3 months and 30.4 months respectively, the survey shows. "The unnecessary delay misses the best time for treatment and makes the disease more serious, and inevitably will influence reins between husbands and wives," noted Jiang. Wang Yixin, a professor at the Shanghai Andrology Research Centre, acknowledged that 90 per cent of ED patients in China do not go to normal hospitals for three major reasons: self-abasement and prudishness, worries about privacy and suspicion about the efficiency of current erectile dysfunction treatment.
Wang said that 80 per cent of ED cases in China are physical in origin while the other 20 per cent are caused by psychological reasons such as tension, anxiety and depression. Many chronic diseases including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, nervous system diseases can lead to erectile dysfunction to some extent. "The idea that ED is incurable is totally wrong. After appropriate treatments, most ED patients can again enjoy their sexual lives as normal," said Wang, who encouraged ED patients to see doctors for their own happiness.
According to Wang, the only major barrier to Chinese patients is the expensive ED medicine. The price of Pfizer's Viagra, the only effective medicine for ED in Chinese market, still stands at nearly 100 yuan (US$12) per tablet.
Bayer's China branch announced this month that it would begin selling Levitra, its erectile dysfunction pill, in China soon. Eli Lilly is expected to enter the market with its own drug, Cialis, later. As a result, each of the world's three ED drug makers will have a stake in the Chinese market.
Many Chinese drug makers are also closely following the country's huge domestic market and are working hard to invent their own treatments. "With more ED medicines entering the Chinese market, the price of ED medicine is expected to fall because of competition," said Wang, who also expressed his optimism on the number of ED patients going for doctors in the future.