When I saw that today was the 15th anniversary of the FDA’s approval of Viagra, I decided it would be the perfect sustainable business topic. In this case, though, sustainable is more tongue-in-cheek than anything else. Pfizer patented sildenafil, the generic name for Viagra, in 1996, and in 1998 it was brought to market as an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, forever changing the lives of millions of men.

In honor of Viagra’s contribution to society, I’m dedicating today’s post to some of the drug’s more newsworthy historical highlights.  

Bob Dole signs on as Viagra's pitchman

Shortly after Viagra came to market, Pfizer hired former presidential candidate Bob Dole as its official spokesperson. The former senator was a logical choice; he participated in the Viagra trials and praised the benefits of the drug, at 75 he was in the target market and he was a well-known public figure. I have to admit, when I watched the commercial the first time it aired, I giggled; I always saw Bob Dole as a stiff and boring guy, but the commercial made me see Dole in a new, friskier, light.

Viagra takes the spotlight during the 2008 presidential election

In July 2008, a reporter on John McCain’s campaign bus asked about the disparity between healthcare coverage of Viagra and birth control. McCain didn’t have an immediate answer on the issue, and the topic ended up being campaign fodder for Planned Parenthood, which railed against McCain for his lack of reproductive rights knowledge.

Pfizer releases an online Viagra game

Just a few months after Viagra made headlines because of the McCain campaign bus issue, the drug was back in the headlines again. In September 2008, CBS News covered the release of a new Viagra online game.

“Pfizer is currently advertising its blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug with an online game called 'Viva Cruiser.' In doing so, the company seems to be courting controversy — as it has done in the past — over whether it believes Viagra is a legitimate treatment for a medical condition or a party drug.”

20-something musician overdoses on Viagra, but lives

Pfizer has repeatedly had to address accusations that Viagra is being marketed as a ‘party drug,’ and in 2010 the issue was back in the spotlight. Tom Kaulitz was a 20-year-old musician who popped so many Viagra pills while on tour that he overdosed; thankfully, he survived. Kaulitz suffered a headache and dizziness and had to take a two-day break from his concert tour.

'Real World: Hollywood' star fatally overdoses on Viagra and other drugs

Last year the topic of recreational use of Viagra once again made headlines, this time with the death of "Real World: Hollywood" star Joey Kovar. Kovar reportedly overdosed on a fatal combination of Viagra, cocaine and alcohol.

Related on MNN: Venom from the world's most poisonous spider could be the next Viagra

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.