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Health

Generic Viagra to hit the market

Ben Schmitt
| Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, 3:12 p.m.
This photo shows Pfizer's Viagra, left, and the company's generic version, sildenafil citrate, at Pfizer Inc., headquarters in New York.
Associated Press
This photo shows Pfizer's Viagra, left, and the company's generic version, sildenafil citrate, at Pfizer Inc., headquarters in New York.

Viagra, the so-called "little blue pill," is about to get a lot cheaper and change colors.

A generic version of the drug, used to treat erectile dysfunction, will be available Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. will begin selling the generic version, in white pill form, for about $32 a pill, half of Viagra's price.

Pfizer negotiated a deal four years ago allowing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. to begin selling a generic version in the United States on Monday, Forbes reported . Therefore, Pfizer plans to release its own white pill at half the current $65-a-little-blue-pill price.

Sildenafil is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Viagra, which launched in 1998.

Dr. Benjamin Davies, a UPMC urologist, said doctors previously helped patients avoid high Viagra prices by prescribing a cheaper pulmonary hypertension drug, known as Revatio. However, patients would have to take multiple pills to achieve the same effect as one Viagra pill.

"I think it's great that it will cost less," Davies said Friday of the generic form of Viagra. "I'd still like to see it cheaper. I don't think the price is low enough. But I think patients will be happy."

Pfizer's patents have already expired in several other countries . An over-the-counter version of the ED drug has been cleared by United Kingdom regulators.

Demand should be high. More than 18 million men in the United States suffer from erectile dysfunction, according to a study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers.

"There's no reason why it can't be over the counter," Davies said. "It's safer than aspirin, and I also think that's where we're headed."

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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