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Celebrating Viagra

For Phil Mathes, Viagra's first birthday marks the first anniversary of a new chapter in his life. "Oh, we've been real happy with the results," he says. "It's just like I'm 20 years old again. And with this last year since Viagra has come onto the scene and I'm using it, we're back to sex like normal, two or three times a week."

Mathes isn't Viagra's only big fan. Traders on Wall Street have found Viagra's maker, Pfizer, to have tremendous staying power as well. Its stock closed yesterday at $138 a share. That's up from $46, where it was when news of its potency broke.

The impotence drug has been all over television as well, hyped by retired senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole and joked about more than enough on late-night talk shows.

David Letterman isn't the only one fascinated by it. Hordes of Canadian men crossed the United States' largest undefended border to pick up the "Pfizer riser." Pharmacists in Washington state say the foreign invasion accounted for 80 percent of their sales.

It's even part of the Pentagon's budget. They'll put up a whopping $50 million so troops and retirees can get their hands on the wonder drug.

In case you're curious, that's roughly the cost for 45 Tomahawk missiles to achieve their version of lift-off.

As with any newborn, Viagra has had its share of growing pains and serious problems. There were headlines about deaths and lawsuits, creating questions about the drug's safety.

Urologist Douglas Whitehead says the drug is safe, but patients need to be careful not to mix it with other medications.

Considering the alternatives of pumps and needles, this simple pill not only proved wildly popular, it solved a painful communications problem between some couples.

"Many men have come out of the closet and now they're being treated," says Dr. Whitehead, "Before, it was so difficult for them to speak about it, they just went untreated."

For Phil Mathes, the experience for him and his wife is enough to send the makers of Viagra a special birthday wish: "I would say to the people that brought it forward...Thank you. You don't know what this has done for my lifeÂ… It's put me back to feeling whole again."

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