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Sales of ED Medications Level Off in U.S. – But Pfizer Still Raising Prices for Viagra

Revenues for Pfizer's Viagra have leveled out while consumer prices continue to rise sharply.Pfizer, the manufacturer of the prescription erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra, has again raised its wholesale price for the medication. This comes about two months after Pfizer reported a rare decrease in Viagra revenues – for the first quarter of 2010 in the U.S. (minus 2 percent). In 2009, Viagra revenues were up 7 percent in the U.S. Lilly, the manufacturer of ED drug Cialis, narrowly posted an increase in U.S. sales of the drug for the first quarter of 2010 (one percent). In 2009, Cialis revenues were up 14 percent in the U.S.

This trend indicates that the millions of U.S. men who suffer from ED (estimated to be as many as half of all men over 40), may have reached the end of the road in terms of how much money they can afford/are willing to spend on FDA-approved, brand-name ED medications. Viagra and Cialis control about 90 percent of ED medication sales in the U.S. while Levitra claims the rest.

Pfizer has raised prices for Viagra 16 times since its introduction – including nine times since Jan. 1, 2007. Wholesale cost for a bottle of 100 pills started out at $700 in 1998, and is now at $1,700 – an increase of 143%. In its first eight-plus years on the market (through 2006), Viagra’s wholesale price was increased 36.4 percent by Pfizer. In the less than four years since, Pfizer has raised the price 78.1 percent. Cialis, introduced to the market in 2003, has kept a very similar pace with Viagra with regard to price increases.

Sales of Viagra have plateaued as Pfizer continues to raise prices of its erectile dysfunction medication. Lilly has followed suit with Cialis.American men who utilize Viagra online need to hang in there for about 20 months more before their pocketbooks receive a big break, which will come in the form of Viagra’s patent expiration on March 27, 2012. At that time, generics for sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) will be a legal option for men in the U.S. This will significantly drive down the price of all three FDA-approved medications. Additional ED medications may also be on the way, including Avanafil and Zoraxel. These drugs will also require a prescription, and an over-the-counter solution does not appear to be in the pipeline, or in the works.

Although many consumers are understandably looking to save money due to the high cost of FDA-approved ED medications, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns of the dangers of cheap, illegal medications that are often produced in India and China, and available online. Many are manufactured with no oversight or regulation, and they often contain ineffective, if not harmful or fatal ingredients.