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During Lockdown, Generic Viagra Costs are on the Rise

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the market for prescription drugs in the United States upside-down. Prices of more than 500 prescription drugs have increased so far in 2020, with an average increase of about five percent. With the serious economic hardships created by the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans are finding prescription drug costs even more difficult to manage than usual.

Despite an encouraging downward trend at the end of 2019, prices for sildenafil and other generic drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) have started to climb since the pandemic hit U.S. shores. In this article, we’ll fill you in on these price increases and how you can stay safe by ordering your erectile dysfunction and sexual health medications from a trusted source.

Unexpectedly Upward

The latest market research comes to us from eDrugstore.com, an online pharmacy based in Arizona. They reviewed pricing data collected from at least 17 different online and retail pharmacies over the first six months of 2020. After analyzing the data for trends, they found that prices for the three most-prescribed generic ED drugs have risen since the start of COVID-19 related shutdowns in February.

DrugFebruary 2020 Average PriceJune 2020 Average PricePercent Change
Levitra 20 mg$56.52$56.08-0.78%
Vardenafil 20 mg$21.18$27.0127.53%
Cialis 20 mg$75.05$75.050.00%
Tadalafil 20 mg$17.90$22.8127.43%
Viagra 100 mg$79.87$79.86-0.01%
Sildenafil 100 mg$21.59$22.594.63%

Vardenafil and tadalafil (generics for Levitra and Cialis, respectively) experienced the biggest change, with the average price for both increasing by nearly 28% from February 2020 to June 2020. The increase in average price of another popular generic ED medication, sildenafil (generic for Viagra), was more modest, but still went up about 5% over the same time period.

 

Average price of brand and generic ed drugs chart.

In a phenomenon rarely seen in the pharmaceutical industry however, prices for the brand name versions of these drugs have remained rock steady since the beginning of 2020. What gives?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut explanation for either the unexpected price changes for generic ED medications, or the unexpected price stability of brand-name ED drugs. What we know from the data is that most of the price increases occurred at retail and grocery store pharmacies and likely reflect an increase in the price these pharmacies and their wholesale suppliers pay to generic drug manufacturers.

The reality is that the price hikes are probably the result of a murky mixture of causes. Because nothing can ever be simple, right? Read on to see how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting drug prices, and how ordering your erectile dysfunction and sexual health medications directly from a reputable online pharmacy like eDrugstore.com can save you money and time.

Supply Chain Woes

Research firm Arnold Ventures issued a scathing report on the impact of COVID-19 on the pharmaceutical supply chain, finding that the pandemic has had far-reaching effects on generic drug manufacturers. Companies that make generic medications for sale in the United States often look to outside firms to source the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) they need for their products.

Many of these API suppliers are based in countries like China and India and took big hits to production from both the outbreak and aggressive measures to control it.  A statement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates they’ve had significant concerns about the impact of the novel Coronavirus on the pharmaceutical supply chain in the United States, and they have been closely monitoring the situation since February.

Supply chain.

Our research doesn’t indicate a direct shortage of sexual health medications like sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil, but manufacturers of generic versions of these drugs are feeling the pressure on the international pharmaceutical supply chain that can drive up prices across the board.

Unlike large generic manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies that make brand-name prescription drugs in the United States—like Pfizer (Viagra), Bayer (Levitra), and Lilly (Cialis)—manufacture a much smaller array of drugs and enjoy a greater profit margin on the ones they do make.

That means that Big Pharma companies have a much greater incentive to invest in the protection of their supply chains, since they have a less diverse product portfolio to fall back on in the event of a disruption. While the brand-name ED drugs may have been insulated from COVID-19 price swings, savvy patients can still save 50% or more on the generic versions by ordering online from a VIPPS-certified pharmacy like eDrugstore.com.

Demand Answers!

There’s no question that the pandemic has rocked the American health care system. The financial strain imposed on so many from loss of work and health insurance means people are spending less on their health care and are trying to stretch those dollars as far as they’ll go.

A recent report from GoodRx.com shows that prescription fills spiked sharply in late February and early March. As the threat of shut-downs and quarantine orders loomed, people quickly acted on the recommendation by the Center for Disease Control to stock up on medications. This trend was amplified when major health insurers announced they would relax their usual policies on early refills and 90-day supplies.

Now with so many of us cooped up at home, it’s not unreasonable to think that the demand for prescription ED medications would be on the rise. And as demand increases, price usually increases with it. GoodRx.com noticed that while fills for all prescription drugs took a dive as March went on, medications for erectile dysfunction experienced the smallest decline.

Couple having a discussion while referring to a phone screen.

It’s possible prices for generic ED drugs went up in anticipation of an increase in demand during the shut-down that hasn’t materialized. If that’s the case, prices may correct themselves and fall over the next few months.

On the other hand, as states begin the long road to reopening, health care spending and prescription fills may rebound and cause prices to climb further to reflect the increase in demand.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Brick-and-mortar pharmacies and physicians’ offices across the United States may have remained open during the Coronavirus crisis, but they’ve often been severely limited in their ability to fill prescriptions and see patients. Fear of catching or spreading the virus means people have been much less willing to venture out in public to obtain their medications or consult with a doctor.

This is where online pharmacies and telehealth providers really shine. With over 20 years in business and a record of exceptional service, eDrugstore.com is proud to offer customers a safe, convenient source for their health care needs. To explore your options for managing erectile dysfunction and sexual health and obtain a confidential consultation with a telehealth physician, visit eDrugstore.com today!

Randall is a medical writer with years of experience in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, he worked as an infusion and specialty pharmacist, where he discovered his passion for making trustworthy healthcare information accessible to everyone.