The erectile dysfunction (ED) medication industry’s Big 3 drugs (Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra) maintained relatively steady growth over the first four months of 2020, according to pricing data from 15 retail chain pharmacies and three online medical facilitators, including eDrugstore.com. Viagra’s price per pill (for the 100 mg dosage) was the most expensive of the group, averaging right around $80. Cialis (20 mg) saw the biggest fluctuation, a $4 drop between February to March, before leveling out in April. Of the three, Levitra’s 20 mg pill was least expensive at around $56.
The COVID-19 pandemic effectively shuttered the United States in mid-March, sending retail prices plummeting. However, one retail area is not seeing the same devastating impacts: pricing for prescription medications. Prices for certain prescription medications, some tied directly to COVID-19 and some not, have actually seen price increases since the pandemic.
This article describes how prescription prices have trended since COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown in the United States, highlighting pricing trends for erectile dysfunction (ED) medications.
What is the Impact of COVID-19?
COVID-19 has ravaged the world since the beginning of 2020, but its impacts were largely dismissed in the United States until mid-March. By then, it was clear that the virus was within U.S. borders, showing no signs of slowing its spread. COVID-19 is especially troubling, not only for its health impacts that include strained respiratory function and even death, but also its social and economic impacts as well.
Social and economic impacts of COVID-19 include:
- Reduced social contact
- Constrained movement within cities
- Employee layoffs and furloughs
- Record unemployment rates
How is COVID-19 Affecting Retail Prices and Consumer Spending?
Several industries are feeling the impact of COVID-19:
- Grocery sales
The airline industry in particular has been hit hard by COVID-19, especially since the U.S. closed its borders to international travelers from certain regions plagued by COVID-19, including China, Iran, and a number of European countries. Airline prices dropped more than 10% from February to March 2020. Similarly, hotel prices also slid, dropping nearly 8% during the same time frame.
The restaurant industry is another hard-hit sector, as they were forced to eliminate dine-in options to ensure social distancing recommendations were followed. Many have since shifted strategies, focusing on takeout and delivery options to stay afloat.
On the other hand, grocery stores have seen the opposite happen – their sales and prices are going up. This is due to a number of factors, including:
- People hoarding groceries ahead of stay-at-home orders
- Food supply chain disruptions
- Restaurant closures requiring people to cook at home more
What Do Prescription Drug Price Trends Look Like Amidst COVID-19?
Given that COVID-19 carries with it devastating consequences, it is unsurprising that drugs believed to treat it are actually seeing refill increases. For instance, one drug the President praised as a possible treatment for COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine, saw a whopping 367% increase in refills in mid-March. Other drugs that are being tested to determine if they are viable treatment for COVID-19, chloroquine, entacapone, and Mytesi, experienced price increases as well.
But what is happening with pricing trends for lifestyle medications, like those for erectile dysfunction (ED)? Prices for “Big 3” ED drugs (Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra) maintained relatively steady growth over the first four months of 2020, according to pricing data from 15 retail chain pharmacies and three online medical facilitators, including eDrugstore.com.
- Viagra’s price per pill (for the 100 mg dosage) stayed steady at around $80
- Cialis (20 mg) saw the biggest fluctuation, a $4 drop between February to March, before leveling out in April.
- Levitra’s 20 mg pill was least expensive at around $56, though its price also remained steady month-to-month
Even though COVID-19 is presenting challenges to social and economic well-being, not all industries are suffering. Those interested in exploring lifestyle prescription medications should visit reputable retailer eDrugstore.com to learn why it is rated as A+ by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Kwynn holds a Master of Public Health and is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Work. Her research examines the intersections of health, technology, and gender-based violence.