Viagra and the threatened arrival of competition

Pfizer is feeling the financial pressure as patents run out. In November 2011 it lost exclusivity on its top-selling anti-cholesterol drug. With generic statins now on sale, the manufacturer is desperately cutting its costs, particularly its R&D budget, to maximize the profits from the drugs that remain within patent protection. This made Pfizer's case against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in August 2011 particularly important. Pfizer collected about $1 billion from the US market from the sale of Viagra. If cheap generics were allowed to compete, it would have to drop its price and that would alarm investors. So a ragged cheer was heard when Judge Rebecca Smith accepted Pfizer's argument that its patent for the use of the drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction did not actually expire until 2019. For the record, the initial patent only protected Pfizer's use of the drug for treating high blood pressure.

So it's interesting the FDA should now approve a fourth erectile dysfunction drug. This is not you understand, a "new" drug. The basic chemistry is the same and it works in exactly the same way as Viagra. The only advantage claimed for the use of this new version of an old product is that it may work up to fifteen minutes more quickly than the other three drugs. In other words, there's no particular advantage for anyone to switch to the new drug. Yet here it comes, full of vim and vigor, and hoping to take some of the full-price business away from the existing three drugs.

This leaves the US market in a very interesting position. There are no cheap generics available in the brick-and-mortar drugstores. You have to go to an online pharmacy to make the savings. This shows us the best and worst of the patent system. It's perfectly reasonable that a manufacturer should have a period of protection during which development costs can be recovered. This encourages more people to develop new products. But when this forces consumers to pay unusually high prices for extended periods of time, the result is less pleasing.

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Why is Viagra trusted around the world?

Launched in 1998, Viagra was alone on the market until 2003. No other manufacturer was able to duplicate its success. Although two new drugs arrived in 2003, they have remained second best. Viagra remains the best-selling drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

If you go to your regular physician, get a prescription and go into your local pharmacy, you're locked into the fixed retail prices set by the manufacturer. But, by using this site, you get access to a competitive situation in which several online pharmacies pitch their prices for sale of the tablets and their shipping. Now you can quickly compare and contrast their offers, and buy Viagra at the best possible price.

That said, there's a further advantage. If you only look to buy within the United States, you are prevented from buying the generic version sold under the name Sildenafil citrate. But if you buy online, the international pharmacies sell Viagra's generic version at a heavily discounted price. The branded and generics are exactly the same although, in some cases, the shape and color may differ slightly.

Everything about Viagra

» What is Viagra used to treat?
» What is erectile dysfunction?
» Is Viagra suitable for everyone?
» What precautions should you take?
» What dose should you take?
» What are the side effects?

Viagra: how to get the best results »

Although you can just take Viagra and hope for the best, there are a number of steps you can take to improve the outcomes. With your help, Viagra can be even more effective.

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