Viagra, the well-known erectile dysfunction drug, is about to get a huge price cut—thanks to the little blue pill’s own manufacturer, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which announced Wednesday that it’s introducing generic Viagra at a significantly lower price than the popular branded version. The cheaper version will hit the U.S. market next Monday.
You might wonder why a drug maker would slash the price of one of its biggest sellers. (Viagra raked in about $1.6 billion in global sales in 2016.) For Pfizer, the logic is: Try to get ahead of generic competition with your own, cheaper copycat. Generic Viagra will cost half of the $65-per-pill list price of old-fashioned Viagra and will be a “little white pill” rather than a blue one.
Pfizer’s Viagra patents have already expired in several other countries. Last month, an over-the-counter version of the drug (manufactured by Pfizer) was cleared by U.K. regulators. Pfizer has reached settlements with companies like Teva, which are producing their own generic Viagra versions, to allow for those treatments to enter the market. The company is now trying to hang on to as many sales as possible from the lucrative treatment, which has been around for decades.
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