Rx Shorts: ED Drugs Go Generic in 2018

April 26, 2018
Matthew Baker, PharmD
Matthew Baker, PharmD

Treatment for erectile dysfunction may finally be affordable, available, and convenient.   

Blockbuster erectile dysfunction (ED) agents Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) are set to go off patent in fall 2018 and join sildenafil (Viagra), currently the lone ED product available on the generic market. 

Even though Viagra won’t officially go off patent until 2020, Pfizer’s 2013 settlement with generic manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals allowed for Teva to introduce a generic version of Viagra-for which Pfizer will receive royalties-beginning in December 2017.

With the introduction of generics for Levitra and Cialis into the non-branded marketplace, treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) may finally be affordable for many more patients.  At present, many practitioners have opted to prescribe the generic of the economically priced anti-pulmonary hypertension agent Revatio (sildenafil 20 mg) as a workaround to the high cost of the ED agents. However, the prospect of taking 3 to 5 tablets at once to equal one dose of Viagra can be burdensome, while the extra pills can drive up the cost of what is meant to be a cheaper alternative. The cost of 30 pills of 20 mg sildenafil (to provide approximately 6 doses, based on 100 mg per dose) is currently a fraction of what is paid for even generic sildenafil 100 mg, not to mention brand Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis, or Levitra.

Viagra and its generic, Cialis and Levitra currently come in at approximately $60 to $80 per pill. Five tablets of sildenafil 20 mg cost around $30.   

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Rx Shorts provides PCPs with brief, timely updates on a wide variety of matters surrounding prescription drugs. Label changes, supplemental NDAs, FDA advisories, recalls, black box additions, patent expirations, off label uses-the topics will be as varied as the pharma news itself. Author Matthew Baker, PharmD, of Lufkin, TX, serves as the Patient Care eyes and ears in the pharmaceutical realm.