Though not as popular as Viagra or Cialis, Levitra is nonetheless a tremendously popular drug for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). It is also typically priced lower than Viagra or Cialis. Levitra’s US patent ended October 31, 2018, and at least one generic manufacturer is ready to offer its product in the US.
The History of Levitra
Levitra was the second of the “big three” drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) introduced in the United States. It was launched in August 2003 and rapidly gained popularity as more men warmed to the idea of using prescription medications to address ED. A dissolvable form of the drug, sold under the brand name Staxyn, became available in the United States in 2011.
Levitra works similarly to the other two main ED drugs sold in the US, Viagra and Cialis, in that it is a PDE5 inhibitor. It works by affecting smooth muscle function in the blood vessels supplying the penis. Currently it is the third most popular ED drug in the US behind Cialis and Viagra, yet it still is tremendously popular.
When Levitra was introduced in 2003, it cost pharmacies $8.49 per pill. Over the years, prices rose to over 300% of what it cost in 2003. This is not unusual, particularly with ED medications. The prices for name brand Viagra and Cialis today are also up markedly compared to what their per-pill price was when the drugs were first introduced.
There is good news, however! As of October 31, 2018, Levitra’s patent expires in the US, paving the way for French pharmaceutical company Sanofi to introduce a generic version that should cut prices. If other generic makers for Levitra enter the market, prices could fall further.
Why Are Prices for Levitra and Other ED Drugs So High?
Many factors have influenced the price pharmacies and consumers pay for Levitra and other ED drugs over the years. One of the main reasons prices have gone up so much is the simple fact that consumers are willing to pay high prices. None of the top ED drugs has yet reached a price ceiling above which consumers won’t go. This is not the only reason for the big increases in price for ED drugs. Other factors include indirect influences from prescription drug company practices such as “pay for delay” pricing, the effect of generics (or lack thereof), and the fine-tuning of patents that keeps generics waiting in the wings.
“Pay for Delay” Pricing
Pay for delay pricing is a practice by some pharmaceutical manufacturers in the United States of holding off generic competitors by simply paying them large sums of money to not bring their generics onto the market. For name brand drug manufacturers, it is far less expensive an option than trying to preserve their patent through the judicial system. For generic manufacturers, getting paid, in essence, to do nothing is really a no-brainer.
For consumers interested in ED medications, however, the days of worrying about pay for delay pricing are nearing an end. Viagra, which stretched its patent out longer than any of the “big three” ED drugs, will finally lose patent protection in the US in 2020. It has in the meantime entered into agreements with Teva pharmaceuticals and with Pfizer’s own generic drug maker to put two generic versions of Viagra on the market in the US. While they’re still priced high, they don’t cost as much as name brand Viagra. With Levitra and Cialis, since there never was a pay for delay agreement with a generic drug maker, price relief under generics should be faster and more significant.
There Is Good News for Those Who Prefer Name Brand Levitra Too
Levitra is the least expensive of the three main ED medications in the US You’ll pay a few dollars more per pill for Viagra or Cialis in a corresponding dosage. Levitra is also available in limited quantities at low prices as part of some chain pharmacy discount programs.
Shopping around can make a big difference in the price you pay for many prescription drugs, and Levitra is no different. Pharmacies have some negotiating power with drug manufacturers, and in some cases pass savings on to consumers. Contrary to what you may expect, however, smaller, independent pharmacies can sometimes have lower prices than big pharmacy chains.
Larger chain pharmacies often have prescription savings plans, where some generics are offered at very low prices, and they have to make up for those bargain prices elsewhere. In many cases, popular drugs for which no generics are available (like ED drugs) may be priced higher to make up for those big discounts on generics.
Other Options for Obtaining Levitra at Competitive Prices
Mail order pharmacies and online medical facilitators are other sources of competitive prices on Levitra. Medical facilitators like eDrugstore.com have the added convenience of contracting with licensed US physicians and pharmacists to prescribe and dispense the drug conveniently, discreetly, and securely. In fact, same-day shipping is available in many cases.
If you do choose to go online to order Levitra it is critical that you avoid online sources offering Levitra at astoundingly low prices. Prices that are way out of line with what retail pharmacies charge indicate that a product is counterfeit, and counterfeits range from completely ineffective to downright dangerous. Be aware also that many shady online “pharmacies” display Canadian flags all over their sites to play on the trust that many US citizens have in Canadian pharmacies. These sites in reality may not be located anywhere near Canada.
Be safe, compare prices, and if you purchase online, go with a trusted source like eDrugstore.com that is located in the US and that has been providing name brand ED medications to hundreds of thousands of satisfied consumers for over 20 years.
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