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To start, Viagra (chemical name, sildenafil citrate) is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, and was approved by the FDA in 1998. The drug was originally created by Pfizer to treat high blood pressure and angina, but was found to have little effect on either condition. While sildenafil citrate didn’t lower blood pressure, it did cause men to have erections within 30 to 60 minutes of taking it. Pfizer realized that this was a very good thing, and began to offer the oral medication under the name Viagra. Within a year’s time, Viagra was a near billion-dollar business.
It’s been almost 17 years since the Viagra hit the market. Now, at about $15 USD per pill, it’s no wonder people are looking for a more cost-effective alternative. What’s the hold-up?
In a nutshell, ahem, Pfizer, as well as many other pharmaceutical giants, have an extremely difficult time with generic offerings. As soon as the generic versions are released, these very large companies take a huge cut in profit. So they attempt to ensure their patents are well-protected. Pfizer’s patent on Viagra lasts until 2020.
Well, it seems the wait is almost over. In 2013, Pfizer finally reached an undisclosed agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, a division of Teva Industries, Inc., which is an Israel-based pharmaceutical company, and the world’s largest. Teva will begin to produce generic Viagra as early as 2017, which is three years before the patent expiry date.
Okay. So now, you’re probably wondering why the generic version of Viagra is available in Canada if the patents are on such serious lockdown? Well, it would seem that in Canada, Pfizer may have gotten a bit too clandestine with the drug’s ingredients, and failed to mention sildenafil citrate as the compound required to produce Viagra. In other words, they got the patent in Canada…but didn’t exactly reveal what they were patenting. So in 2012, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the patent should be revoked, because it seemed that Pfizer tried to "game" the system. Without a patent to protect the product, Teva Canada was able to produce generic Viagra in Canada after Pfizer’s patent expired in 2014.
Options. Options. Who’s got the options?
As you probably know, there are other prescription ED medications available in the North American market. These include as Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, and Stendra, but is there a chance that any of the aforementioned medications will be available over the counter, or without a prescription?
As a matter of fact, French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and Cialis’s Eli Lilly, are working together to buy the rights for approval to sell Cialis over the counter in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK once those aforementioned patents expire, of course. Over-the-counter Cialis versus generic Cialis should prove to be an interesting boost to the ED prescription market.
You may also be aware that there are "natural" ED supplements available for purchase. Like anything else, you have to be careful about what you consume. Some of these supplements are great, but some can be harmful when they interact with other medications. Do check in with your pharmacist and/or doctor.
Safety first? You bet.
If you’re not dealing with a CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association) and PharmacyChecker-verified sites, you may not only put yourself at risk health-wise, but your privacy and financial security may also be compromised. For instance, the non-verified sites can’t, don’t, or won’t protect your financial or personal information. Some may even sell your private information to others. And, should the site be hacked, your information will be, too. Above all, please remember that there are no "miracle cures." Anyone who tries to sell you a "miracle" is also not very, uh, miraculous and will probably send you lots of SPAM. (We’re not talking about the canned stuff. Not at all.)
In any case, if you suspect that something is off about your medication, your best bet is to immediately show it to your doctor or pharmacist. Please note that there are different brands of the same legitimate drug on the market, but if you’re not sure, make sure you show the medicine to a professional.
The good news? Generic Viagra will soon be available to US customers! But until that time, make sure you take care of yourself online, and be sure to frequent CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association) and PharmacyChecker-verified sites. Because that old tried-and-true adage is a good one: If it seems too good to be true…it probably is.