New York — Viagra’s incredible run ended this morning with the release of a cheaper, generic version of the world’s first impotence-fighting pill. And what a run it was. Approved 19 years ago, Pfizer’s Viagra ushered in a pharmaceutical and cultural revolution, put the phrase "erectile dysfunction" in the medical mainstream, launched a thousand bad jokes and made friskiness a staple of prime-time television commercials. Bloomberg News spoke to people at the centre of the phenomenon. Their comments have been edited for clarity. Pfizer chemists in South East England cooked up a compound in 1989 called sildenafil citrate that they thought might be a treatment for high blood pressure and chest pain. The low-priority project, classified as UK92480, had disappointing results in tests. Then, during a study of Welsh mine workers, researchers stumbled on the compound’s real magic: it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down a chemical that is key to erections. David Brown (Pfizer chemist): It wa...

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