Pharmaceutical company Pfizer made an announcement on Dec. 6 that it will start to sell a generic version of Viagra, which is an erectile dysfunction drug.
A generic version of sildenafil, the compound is known more popularly by its brand name of Viagra, will be available in the United States from Monday, Dec. 11. The drug will be retailed at half the price of Viagra, which is available for $65.
Viagra was introduced by Pfizer in 1998 after it was found that sildenafil, which is a failed angina medication, could enable men to sustain erections. The drug addressed impotence and transformed the private frustration of many older men into a medical condition that was publicly discussed. The drug also was a more appealing option for treating impotence compared to penile implants and injections.
Viagra Vs Generics
Sildenafil’s new generic brand will be white in color to help differentiate it from the Viagra pills, which are blue in color.
Though the patent of Viagra has a deadline until 2020 as part of a legal settlement four years ago, Pfizer had agreed to allow Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to retail a generic version of the drug from December 2017.
Many more generic versions of Viagra will be available from next summer, a move which will drastically cut down the cost of the generics by 90 percent.
"Patients are paying fortunes. When generic Viagra comes out, they will be very happy," urologist at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, Dr. Nachum Katlowitz said.
At present, the U.S. market is, however, dominated by Eli Lilly's Cialis, which was introduced in the market in 2003, with Viagra holding the second position. Pfizer’s market research shows that 20 percent of its buyers are loyal to the little blue pill.
Therefore, instead of giving up sales to generic makers as was once the norm among brand-name drugmakers, Pfizer is retailing its own generic and also trying to keep its loyalty base intact. The president of U.S. brands for Pfizer Essential Health, Jim Sage feels that Viagra’s time is still not over and it is just going to a new chapter.
Starting January, Pfizer will increase its copayment card discounts and offer two new discount programs. Men who are not insured can get half off on the brand-name Viagra through an interesting online home delivery program called Pfizer Direct. Insured patients, meanwhile, will be able to avail a month’s prescription for as less as $20, which will include six to 10 pills.