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Generic Viagra now available in pharmacies across the United States




A cheaper generic version of erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is now available in the United States. Sildenafil is a PDE-5 inhibitor, which works by relaxing the blood vessels and facilitating easier blood flow to the penis. 

The branded drug Viagra is manufactured by Pfizer and has been available in the United States since 1998. Drug patents usually last for 20 years, after which other companies are permitted to market generic versions of the product. 

Viagra was the first erectile dysfunction product to appear in US pharmacies, but since then alternatives such as Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) have gained FDA approval, although, neither product is available in a generic version available in the United States. As of December 11th, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Mylan are the two firms offering generic sildenafil citrate products, but more companies are expected to follow suit in the coming year. 

Pfizer’s branded Viagra currently sells for $254-273 for four pills through RxSpark. However, with the new generics arriving on the market, the same number of pills can be purchased for as little as $115-$135, less than half the cost of branded pills. 

“The launch of Teva's sildenafil tablets brings an affordable generic treatment option to the estimated 18 million men in the US who are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction," said Brendan O'Grady, Teva’s executive vice-president of North America Commercial.

Erik Gordon, a pharmaceuticals analyst at the University of Michigan’s business school, told the Associated Press (AP) the pricing and marketing response to the release of a generic viagra was “unprecedented”. 

However, Pfizer is expected to begin manufacturing a generic version of Viagra in the coming months to ensure it remains competitive in the United States marketplace. Jim Sage, president of US brands for Pfizer Essential Health told the AP the “story for Viagra isn’t done. It’s just going to be a new chapter”.

The most common effects of sildenafil include headaches, flushing, upset stomach, abnormal vision (for example, changes in color or blurred vision), a blocked or a runny nose, back or muscle pain, nausea, dizziness, and rash.