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Viagra Marks 15 Years in Canada

Viagra represented a revolutionary new option in treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Viagra represented a revolutionary new option in treatment of erectile dysfunction.

In 1998, Viagra became available by prescription in the United States.

Although everyone predicted the drug would be successful, no one could envision just how successful the “little blue pill” was going to be. Suddenly a topic that had mostly been taboo was being talked about not only in medical practices, but in advertisements in print and on television. Urologists in the US extended their hours just to accommodate the number of men who wanted to try Viagra. Today, Viagra is a household word as much as “Kleenex,” “Xerox,” and “Band-Aid.” But it wasn’t until a year after its introduction in the US that Viagra was made available in Canada.

March 7, 1999: Pfizer Introduces Viagra in Canada

The fact that Viagra wasn’t officially available in Canada during 1998 and the first part of 1999 didn’t mean that Canadians didn’t manage to obtain it. During the interim when it was available in the US but not north of the border, it was regularly routed to Canadians through gray market trading. Then on March 7, 1999, Pfizer’s famous new product became legally available in Canada. In only the first 20 months of availability in Canada, physicians wrote a million prescriptions, or around 50,000 per month. Clearly the drug was going to be as popular in international markets as it was in the US.

Advertising for Viagra in Canada

Advertising for Viagra in Canada started out with ads similar to those that ran in the US in the late 90s. They were serious and avoided naming both the product and the condition that warranted use of it, namely erectile dysfunction (ED). But while ads for Viagra in the US remained on the serious side, Canadian ad agencies had a little more fun with it. By using humor and innuendo in television ads, Canadians helped bring the topic of ED out of the closet. Ultimately, the relaxed, more humorous take on Viagra in Canadian ads affected how Viagra’s competitors were marketed there.

November 2012: Viagra Loses Patent Protection in Canada

Viagra is still considered a blockbuster drug for pharmaceutical company Pfizer, bringing in more than a billion US dollars worldwide, but before competitors Levitra and Cialis were introduced, it was even more of a moneymaker for Pfizer. The company did everything it could to keep Viagra in the forefront of everyone’s mind as the solution to ED, and even the expiration of patents on Viagra in some countries hasn’t hurt demand as much as might be expected.

In November 2012, Viagra lost patent protection in Canada, and a generic made by the Canadian arm of Teva Pharmaceuticals was already waiting in the wings for launch. At that time, Canadian prices for Viagra dropped by 25%, but the drug still manages to hold an impressive market share in Canada and elsewhere. To date, 85 million Viagra pills have been dispensed by Canadian pharmacies.

Viagra is still a big moneymaker for Pfizer, despite competition and loss of patent protection in some countries.

Viagra is still a big moneymaker for Pfizer, despite competition and loss of patent protection in some countries.

2014: Viagra Is Still Immensely Popular

While Viagra is no longer the only option in drug-based ED treatment, it is still the most counterfeited drug in the world and has held onto the name recognition it developed when it was the only game in town. Sales dropped off significantly in Europe in the summer of 2013 when Pfizer’s patents ran out in several European countries and a flood of generics appeared on the market. But in the US, generics for Viagra have been pushed back to late 2017, when Pfizer will allow Teva Pharmaceuticals to sell its generic version until Pfizer’s US patent finally expires in 2020.

Sure, the idea that a pill that helps men obtain strong erections has inspired a lot of humor in the 15+ years it has been available, but the truth is, ED is a real problem for millions of men, and Viagra offered real help that was fairly easy to obtain and best of all, effective and discreet. Until Viagra was introduced, treatments for ED ranged from the inconvenient (vacuum pumps) to the downright scary (drugs injected directly into the penis). Viagra brought the subject of ED out into the open and prompted millions of important conversations about sexual health between men and their physicians (and partners).

At eDrugstore.com, we have had US-licensed pharmacists dispensing Viagra for 15 years to thousands of satisfied customers. eDrugstore.com gives customers the information they need to confirm that they are receiving only genuine Viagra manufactured by Pfizer, so they can rest assured they’re getting the real thing and not compromising their health with counterfeits. eDrugstore.com is also dedicated to the highest standards of customer service, online privacy, and order security.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+