One in five Chinese men has symptoms of erectile problems, according to a report that has raised doubts. Photo: WeChat via DFIC

One in five Chinese men is suffering from erectile problems. That’s the conclusion of a survey cited by a Chinese drug company that produces an active ingredient for Viagra, a medication that treats male sexual dysfunction.

Chinese papers say the share price of Hebei Changshan Biochemical Pharmaceutical Company soared and hit the maximum daily surge cap of 10% on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange this week after the release of the report that painted a gloomy picture of the potency and sex life of Chinese males.

The company manufactures sildenafil citrate under a license granted by Pfizer, the US pharmaceutical conglomerate that owns the Viagra brand and its patented formula.

It said in the report that around 140 million Chinese men suffered from erectile dysfunction, or roughly 20% of China’s male population.

The claim has gone viral, with some wondering about the exact methodology as well as how people were surveyed, since not so many males would admit it even they were suffering from impotence, as it’s a matter of privacy and face, and talking about one’s sex life in public or to a stranger is always considered embarrassing.

The Shenzhen bourse has also raised questions about the release of possibly misleading information.

Changshan Biochemical said afterward that its data came from a research report by a security broker published in 2014, admitting that it did not inquire about the research method, nor did it verify the data.

In fact, the data came from a urologist at Peking University People’s Hospital, who said at a forum in 2010 that the overall rate of erectile dysfunction among Chinese males was 26.1%, and the number could jump to 40% among men aged 40 or above.

But a sexology expert told Xinhua that he believed that the actual percentage of male impotency could be even higher than what the report claimed, as his interviews found that fewer than half of men with erectile dysfunction would seek medical treatment, as letting others know about their condition would simply be too humiliating.

He urged education and medical-care authorities nationwide to launch campaigns to promote awareness about male reproductive health and well-being, as well as better oversight of practitioners and andrology clinics for protection of patient rights and privacy.