How Egypt is turning to ‘female Viagra’

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Flibanserin is produced in Egypt by a local pharmaceutical company

As Egypt becomes the first Arab country to authorise the production and sale of a drug meant to boost the female libido, I’ve been exploring whether there’s a market for it in such a socially conservative country.

“I felt drowsy and dizzy, and my heart was racing.”

This is how Leila felt after taking her first pill of the so-called “female Viagra” – chemically known as flibanserin.

The drug was first authorised for use in the US almost three years ago, and is now being produced in Egypt by a local pharmaceutical company.

Leila – not her real name – is a conservative housewife in her mid-30s. She prefers to conceal her identity as, like many women in Egypt, talking about sexual problems and sexual needs is still very much a taboo.

After almost 10 years of marriage, she says she decided to get the drug “out of mere curiosity”.