Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own little white pill
TRENTON, N.J. - The little blue pill that’s helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first generic competition next week.
Pfizer will begin selling the white pill at half the $65-a-pill retail price on Monday, when its patent-protected monopoly ends. Generic maker Teva Pharmaceuticals can start selling its version then, but isn’t disclosing the price.
Many more generics go on sale next summer, which will steadily slash the price of generics, possibly by 90 percent.
Launched in 1998, Viagra was the first pill for impotence. It transformed a private frustration for many aging men into a publicly discussed medical condition with an easy treatment, far more appealing than options like penile injections and implants. Pfizer’s early TV ads for the little blue pill even coined the term erectile dysfunction, ED for short.
Eli Lilly’s Cialis came out in 2003 and now dominates the U.S. market with on-demand pills and daily, low-dose ones. Viagra is a close second.
Pfizer says its market research shows 20 percent of customers are loyal to Viagra. So rather than give up sales to generic makers as brand-name drugmakers once routinely did, the company is selling its own generic and also fighting to keep men on its blue pills.