The expiry of the Viagra patent on Friday 21 June 2013 in several European countries including the UK was a hugely anticipated event in the pharmaceutical calendar, with generic manufacturers now licensed to produce ‘generic Viagra’ called Sildenafil, the name deriving from the active chemical name of Viagra sildenafil citrate.
National news outlets covered the story with reports of tablets being available from as little as 60 pence each. Dr Fox started to receive numerous enquiries about sildenafil, it’s cost and availability.
Generic Viagra/sildenafil manufacturers
We stood ready on Friday 21 June at the Dr Fox offices, poised to add details of the newly licensed versions at much lower prices to our range of treatments available for Erectile Dysfunction … but no information was forthcoming from the pharmacy wholesalers.
Over the weekend we received a price list for sildenafil that was not much lower cost than Pfizer’s own-brand Viagra – saving the customer on average £2 on a £24–£40 order. Unimpressed we added the generic sildenafil as an order option with the slightly lower price. Not surprisingly many users of our service contacted us to enquire if we had made some kind of mistake.
By the following Tuesday sensible pricing was made available from the wholesalers: 66p per pack of 4 x 25mg; 85p per pack of 4 x 50mg; 94p per pack of 4 x 100mg. Sildenafil now cost a fraction of the price of Viagra and we immediately updated Dr Fox pricing for generic sildenafil treatment options.
So far our wholesalers have available sildenafil from the following generic manufacturers – almost all are priced exactly the same, except for Actavis which was significantly higher:
- Sandoz (Sandoz sildenafil)
- Accord (Accord sildenafil)
- TEVA (TEVA sildenadfil)
- Mylan (Mylan sildenafil)
- Zentiva (Zentiva sildenafil)
- Torrent (Torrent sildenafil)
We expect many more manufacturers to make their own versions available over the next few weeks and months. Dr Fox prices will always remain the lowest – other UK online clinic services still maintain very high mark-ups on ALL medicine for erectile dysfunction.
Price comparisons: sildenafil 25mg, 50mg, 100mg
|Medication||Dr Fox*||Superdrug||Express Pharmacy||Zavamed||Pharmacy2U||Med Express||Lloyds||Simple|
|Sildenafil 25mg x 4||£6.90||£18.00||£19.99||£15.00||£15.00||£9.99||£16.00||£7.95|
|Sildenafil 25mg x 8||£13.70||£27.00||£29.99||£25.00||£23.00||£19.99||£24.00||£14.95|
|Sildenafil 25mg x 16||£24.80||£45.00||£49.99||£45.00||£40.00||£39.99||£45.00||£26.95|
|Sildenafil 25mg x 32||£43.20||n/a||n/a||n/a||£60.00||£79.99||n/a||£47.99|
|Sildenafil 25mg x 64||£62.00||n/a||n/a||n/a||£60.00||£89.99||n/a||£69.99|
|Sildenafil 50mg x 4||£8.90||£16.00||£19.99||£20.00||£23.00||£17.99||£15.00||£9.99|
|Sildenafil 50mg x 8||£15.60||£28.00||£29.99||£30.00||£38.00||£29.99||£28.00||£17.99|
|Sildenafil 50mg x 16||£26.80||£52.00||£49.99||£50.00||£60.00||£49.99||£52.00||£30.99|
|Sildenafil 50mg x 32||£51.00||n/a||n/a||n/a||£86.00||£89.99||n/a||£56.99|
|Sildenafil 50mg x 64||£84.00||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||£139.99||n/a||£94.99|
|Sildenafil 100mg x 4||£9.80||£32.00||£19.99||£25.00||£27.00||£19.99||£25.00||£10.99|
|Sildenafil 100mg x 8||£16.20||£48.00||£29.99||£30.00||£56.00||£34.99||£35.00||£16.99|
|Sildenafil 100mg x 16||£28.40||£76.00||£49.99||£50.00||£75.00||£59.99||£60.00||£25.99|
|Sildenafil 100mg x 32||£54.00||n/a||n/a||n/a||£130.00||£99.99||n/a||£58.99|
Pfizer sildenafil – ‘white Viagra’
Pfizer also released their own version of generic sildenafil as a white tablet. Peculiarly, pricing of their own generic version is not very much lower than that of branded Viagra, despite being exactly the same ingredients.
Sildenafil on the NHS
The widely-held expectation is that the market for sildenafil will grow as the treatment becomes more affordable. Viagra was restricted on the NHS due to cost and GPs generally only prescribed a few tablets per month and generally only on a private paid-for basis.
In June 2013, only men with the following conditions were entitled to the drug on an NHS prescription (meaning they only had to pay the prescription charge).
- multiple sclerosis – a condition that affects the body’s actions and activities, such as movement and balance
- Parkinson’s disease – a condition that affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements, including walking, talking and writing
- polio – a condition that can cause severe muscle paralysis (lack of movement)
- prostate cancer – the prostate is a small gland between the penis and the bladder
- a severe pelvic or spinal injury
- spina bifida – a series of birth defects that affect the development of the spine and nervous system
- certain genetic conditions, such as Huntington’s disease
From NHS website: Viagra prices to drop – sales expected to grow
Update: As of 1 August 2014 the prescribing restrictions for sildenafil have been scrapped.
Other effects of the Viagra patent expiry
Given the price of sildenafil is now very low we would expect more GPs to start issuing NHS prescriptions for sildenafil. We also expect some users of Cialis and Levitra to switch to sildenafil due to its lower price.
Although the patent expiry affected only Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Denmark, Dr Fox are able to dispense and post generic sildenafil (TEVA and Actavis brands only) to any EU country that permits online ordering of prescription medicine. [Update 2017: new EU rules no longer permit English language medicines to be posted outside the UK.]
In the first week since the patent expiry, Dr Fox experienced a significant increase in men seeking treatment for ED using sildenafil.