It's blue times for the little blue pill.
Drug companies will get their first shot at introducing generic alternatives to Viagra next week, when drugmaker Pfizer Inc.'s patent-protected monopoly expires Monday. But Viagra's parent company isn't going down without a fight, The Associated Press reports: Pfizer is launching its own generic version of the famed erectile dysfunction pill in order to minimize its losses when other generics hit the market.
Jim Sage, the president of U.S. brands for Pfizer Essential Health, says, "We believe the story for Viagra isn't done. It's just going to be a new chapter."
That new chapter, apparently, involves Pfizer introducing a subscription service for Viagra. AP writes that beginning next year, Pfizer will "offer two new discount programs and increase its copayment card discounts," while "uninsured men can get brand-name Viagra half off through an innovative online home delivery program." Additionally, patients with insurance may be able to receive a month's worth of pills "for as little as a $20 copayment."
Customers who wish to remain unsubscribed will see benefits, too: Starting Monday, a generic version of the impotence pill will be available for half of the usual $65-a-pill retail price. AP also notes that next summer, when more generic impotence pills have flooded the market, prices could drop by as much as 90 percent.
Dr. Nachum Katlowitz, a urologist at New York Staten Island University Hospital, predicted to AP: "When generic Viagra comes out, [patients] will be very happy." Kelly O'Meara Morales