Pfizer launched H4RDNESS MATTERS Campaign to shed light upon growing prevalence of erectile dysfunction in younger men - :: CLASSIC LEMONADE ::

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pfizer launched H4RDNESS MATTERS Campaign to shed light upon growing prevalence of erectile dysfunction in younger men

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects one in five Malaysian men[i] and is listed as one of the most common sexual health problems in Malaysia. While ED is commonly viewed as a condition of older men, research has shown that one out of four men who seeks medical care for ED is younger than 40 years[ii]. The condition is becoming increasingly more common in younger men with about 30% of the population is expected to be living with undiagnosed ED[iii].

Regardless of age, ED often tops the list of sexual health problems that many men find embarrassing to discuss and often viewed as a taboo topic. To men their masculinity is threatened, and ego comes into play whenever talking about ED, which contributes to the low prevalence rate and non-medical seeking behavior of Asian males with respect to men’s health[iv].

This July, in addressing increasing incidence of ED in men younger than 40 years, Pfizer has shifted away from traditional approach that center topic on the medical aspect of ED and launched the H4RDNESS MATTERS campaign offering sleek, and tongue-in-cheek approach to help men open up to the ‘manly’ topic. The initiative aims to break the social stigma around men’s sexual health by creating opportunities for open conversation among younger male population with healthcare professionals.

Employing a talk show format, Malaysian favorite stand-up comedian – Dr. Jason Leong hosted the campaign launch entitled “H4RD TALK: In Bed with Dr. Jason Leong” to dissect  issues of ED among Malaysian with the audience in a fun and non-threatening environment to cast a light upon the importance of H4RDNESS in men’s sexual health. The talk show also brought together special guests from various expertise to spice up the topic – with a consultant urologist and a clinical sexologist sharing the stage addressing matter of the h4rdness.

H4RDNESS MATTERS for a healthy sexual life. According to the Erection Hardness Score (EHS), Grade 4 H4RDNESS is the optimal erection that men should strive to achieve to enjoy sex thoroughly and satisfy their partners where the penis is completely hard and rigid. Levels of sex satisfaction is strongly associated with erection H4RDNES[v]. Study showed that satisfaction with sex was significantly greater for men and women with partners who experienced Grade 4 compared to those who achieved Grade 3 of erection H4RDNESS[vi]. Additionally, men with a lower EHS grade or suboptimal erections experienced significantly lower levels of satisfaction with all aspects of the sexual experience, compared with men with Grade 4 or optimal H4RDNESS erectionv.

Other than affecting sexual function, ED can often be the symptom of underlying and serious medical causes that require attention and treatment. “While many view ED as only a sexual health problem, ED is often associated with other comorbid conditions including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and depression, many of which have a number of the same vascular risk factors[vii]. Study has even proven that ED is a strong indicator of premature mortality as men with ED had a 70% increased risk of early death[viii], which is why it is important that men who suffer from ED come forward to receive diagnosis and treatment early,” said Prof. George Lee, PhD Consultant Urologist from Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching said that opening the lines of communication around ED can be challenging but it is crucial that men do not shut their sex partners out while dealing with ED. “Discussing with your spouse or partner about ED may be awkward at first, but chances are it won’t be a shock to them. It is never easy to initiate the conversations around ED, men are reluctant to admit he can’t get a hard-on, but not discussing about it can inflict devastating damage on a relationship,” she explained. 

Together with communication, intimacy plays an important part in a sexual and healthy relationship. ED can rob the intimacy between couples when men experience low sexual self-confidence as a result of their erection problems[ix]. Changes in ED patients’ sexual behavior is then often mistakenly interpreted by woman that her partner is having an affair or no longer sexually attractive to them[x]. “When going through ED, couples should be open-minded about keeping the intimacy alive in a relationship while trying to overcome ED,” said Dr. Martha Tara Lee.

Despite many educational and outreach initiatives, ED is still a taboo subject in Malaysia that many men are uncomfortable to talk about openly. Prof. George Lee, PhD added “as ED could indicate future cardiovascular issues, discussing about the subject is merely a process of treating the symptom and reduce severe health risks. Especially among younger men today, they need to understand that ED is not a natural part of ageing and with the stressful lifestyle a lot of urban male are leading, ED is a common phenomenal. Although ED’s frequency does increase with age, it is treatable with medication or by making healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising, curbing alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and changing eating habits. ED does not signal doom for men, their partners or their relationships.”

Men suffering from ED should also refrain from self-medicating with uncertified solutions or rely on information from the internet just so you can avoid the discussion with your healthcare professional. “One of the issues in evaluating patients today is patients often may have self-diagnosed and self-medicated based on the information that they obtained prior to seeing a healthcare professional[xi]. This is dangerous because a lot of the information you receive on the internet are not all reliable or medications you obtain through unscrupulous sources contain uncertified or perilous active ingredients,” he explained.

During the H4RD Talk event, Pfizer Malaysia revealed three visuals under the HARDNESS MATTERS campaign, characterized by ideals of manliness to fuel men’s desire to rise above flaccid situations and regain their confidence in bed. These visuals are inspired by relatable iconic heroes that boys from every strata grew up idolizing for their masculine traits. As part of the campaign initiative, Pfizer has also launched “THE H4RDEST QUIZ”, a thematic online quiz to engage the public with fun, tongue-in-cheek shareable contents for them to learn more about sexual health and to encourage men to discuss openly about the subject. THE H4RDEST QUIZ is available at


[i] The Malaysian Times. (2017, September 8). Helping men with erectile dysfunction. Retrieved from
[ii] Rastrelli, G., & Maggi, M. (2017). Erectile dysfunction in fit and healthy young men: psychological or pathological? Translational Andrology and Urology, 6(1), 79-90. doi:10.21037/tau.2016.09.06
[iii] Nguyen, H. M., Gabrielson, A. T., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2017). Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men—A Review of the Prevalence and Risk Factors. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 5(4), 508-520. Retrieved from
[iv] Ho, C. C., Singam, P., Hong, G. E., & Zainuddin, Z. M. (2011). Male sexual dysfunction in Asia. Asian Journal of Andrology, 13(4), 537-542. doi:10.1038/aja.2010.135
[v] Cappelleri, J. C., & Stecher, V. J. (2008). An assessment of patient-reported outcomes for men with erectile dysfunction: Pfizer's perspective. International Journal of Impotence Research, 20(4), 343-357. Retrieved from
[vi] Dean, J., Shechter, A., Vertkin, A., Weiss, P., Yaman, O., Hodik, M., & Ginovker, A. (2013). Sexual Health and Overall Wellness (SHOW) survey in men and women in selected European and Middle Eastern countries. Journal of International Medical Research, 41(2), 482-492. Retrieved from
[vii] Hackett, G. (2009). The burden and extent of comorbid conditions in patients with erectile dysfunction. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 63(8), 1205-1213. Retrieved from
[viii] Loprinzi, P. D., & Nooe, A. (2015). Erectile Dysfunction and Mortality in a National Prospective Cohort Study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12(11), 2130-2133. Retrieved from
[ix] Dimeo, Patrick. (2007). Psychosocial and relationship issues in men with erectile dysfunction. Urologic nursing. 26. 442-6, 453; quiz 447.
[x] Li, H., Gao, T., & Wang, R. (2016). The role of the sexual partner in managing erectile dysfunction. Nature Reviews Urology, 13(3), 168-177. Retrieved from
[xi] Reed-Maldonado, A. B., & Lue, T. F. (2016). A syndrome of erectile dysfunction in young men? Translational Andrology and Urology, 5(2), 228-234. Retrieved from


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