Viagra Price: Will a Generic Version Be Cheaper than an Original One?

Viagra is used to treat premature ejaculation and sexual dysfunction in men. It was created after the researchers and chemists working for Pfizer were studying Sildenafil in England to see if it was an effective treatment for hypertension and angina pectoris. Pfizer believed that this medication would be able to treat several cardiovascular problems and conditions.

In 1989, scientists Peter Dunn and Albert Wood created Sildenafil while working for Pfizer. The drug was classified as UK-92480. Sildenafil citrate was patented in Britain in 1991 as a drug used to treat cardiovascular conditions. Pfizer funded several studies throughout the early 1990s to see if Sildenafil could successfully treat heart conditions. However, the medicine was ineffective in treating heart problems and Pfizer believed it was a failure.

Those running the study noticed that many participants cited that they had increased erections while taking the medicine. Additional findings about how erections worked were becoming public and the company decided to investigate if Sildenafil could be used to treat male erectile dysfunction.

Pfizer conducted extensive medical trials from 1993 to 1996 to test Sildenafil's effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction. Over 3,000 men between the ages of 19 and 87 participated in double blind studies. All studies demonstrated significant improvement in erectile dysfunction issues for men who took Viagra instead of the placebo. Overall, Pfizer conducted a total of 21 separate studies.

The company obtained a patent for Sildenafil in the United States in 1996. After Phase III clinical trials ended in early 1998, The New England Journal of Medicine published the findings. On March 27, 1998, the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and became the first oral medication to gain such an approval. Within several weeks after the approval, pharmacies distributed over 40,000 Viagra pills to consumers.

In May 1998, Time magazine featured Viagra in its cover story, called "The Potency Pill." A month later, Newsweek called it the most popular new drug throughout the world. Although at the time it was only approved in the United States, Brazil, Morocco, and Mexico, there was a growing black market for the drug all around the world.

Viagra was endorsed by Bob Dole, who participated in the drug's trial study, and the football player Pele. Pfizer launched a marketing campaign that directly targeted consumers, and the drug sales peaked at $1.934 billion in 2008.

The Washington Post published an article in December 1998, claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency was trading Viagra in Afghanistan to acquire intelligence information on the Taliban. The CIA was also giving Viagra to groups in the Middle East in order to gain allies and political favoritism.

Viagra accounted for 92% of the entire global market for erectile dysfunction medications in 2000. However, the sales began to decline after Levitra and Cialis gained the FDA approval in the same year. By 2007, Viagra only accounted for 50% of the global market for erectile dysfunction medications due to competition from Levita and Cialis, as well as a developing market for generic Viagra pills.

Pfizer's patent expired in 2012 outside the United States and the company agreed to settle with Mylan and Teva, two companies that planned to offer consumers a generic version of Viagra. Pfizer agreed to allow Mylan and Teva to release a generic version of their drug on December 11, 2017 in the United States. Pfizer also launched its own generic version of Viagra in December 2017, and began selling the drug directly to consumers on its official website.

Viagra also became a cultural phenomenon. The drug was mentioned in 1999 in an episode of Sex and the City. Famous celebrities like Michael Douglas publicly shared their experiences of using the medication. The medicine helped create a social climate that afforded men the ability to openly address erectile dysfunction issues free from stigma.

Pfizer also ran a highly successful marketing campaign for Viagra. It was one of the first times a drug manufacturer ran ads urging consumers to consult their doctor about medical issues. Their commercials encouraged men suffering from erectile dysfunction issues to talk to their doctors, which in the process led to more men receiving medical care.

The drug also helped men regain confidence. Studies have shown that erectile dysfunction issues can lead to depression, problems with relationships, diminished self-esteem, and performance anxiety. Surveys have found that 62% of men experiencing ED had problems with declined self-esteem, 29% stated that ED caused issues in their relationship, and 21% reported that ED caused their relationships to fail completely. Many men report that decreased sexual performance and ED caused feelings of decreased masculinity. Viagra also allowed older men to become more sexually active.

The medicine works by increasing the blood flow to the penis. The medication allows men to experience an erection after sexual stimulation. It uses a PDE5 inhibitor to treat ED, but the medication doesn't increase sexual desire.

Pfizer's Viagra patent is set to expire in the United States in April 2020, which will pave the way for cheaper generic versions. Viagra is also suffering from medical insurance companies refusing to cover the medication and offers consumers coupons on its website. Viagra is currently $65 per pill but the Pfizer's generic version is offered at less than half the cost.

While Viagra has generated $1.5 billion in revenue since 2016, erectile dysfunction medications are facing declining popularity worldwide. Additionally, generic over-the-counter erectile dysfunction pills are available in Britain and several other countries.

Viagra is attributed to helping over 18 million men over the age of 20 combat the effects of ED. Over 21 million men worldwide have taken Viagra at least once. New start-up companies all around the United States are now selling generic variant of the drug and Pfizer's market share for erectile dysfunction medication has declined to only 15%. They plan to continue to sell brand name Viagra despite launching a cheaper generic version because the company believes that some consumers will always prefer the original drug over generic versions. In 2017, the number of Viagra prescriptions increased by 27%, so it's still possible that the drug will remain a part of the American culture.

In 2016, the FDA approved 5 generic versions of Viagra. These generic versions are drastically cheaper than the original medication and cost from $0.60 to $30.00 per pill.