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17 Products That Were Invented by Accident

Viagra
Pfizer (PFE - Get Report) chemists were developing a pill to treat cardiovascular ailments. In 1991 something came up (literally) that sidetracked those efforts: Test subjects exhibited a rather virile side effect to the treatment.

The pill, later named Viagra and approved by the FDA in 1998, proved a bust in terms of treating heart disease. But the unexpected benefit pumped up its maker's bottom line and set the stage for a brand-new industry.

Today, drugs to treat erectile dysfunction command more than $5 billion a year in sales globally. Of that take, Viagra accounts for about $1.9 billion, but its chief rival in the space, Eli Lilly's (LLY - Get Report) Cialis, closing in on parity.

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