What's the Impact of Viagra's Patent Extension?

Photo: C.P.Storm

Last summer, a court ruled in favor of Pfizer’s patent on Viagra, extending its monopoly on the product through 2019. Many jokes were made when Viagra was first marketed, with Jay Leno remarking that it would keep comedians in business for years. With the patent extension, the price of Viagra will remain high for another 8 years.

There are many implications of this, but my question is the narrow one: What related markets will be affected by the absence of a generic equivalent of Viagra and the product’s continuing high price, and how?


Users should seek medical help for a patent lasting more than eight years.


Two uses of Viagra outside of its strict medical licence are
1. In porn films. Viagra caused structural unemployment in the historical, noble and storied job of being a 'fluffer'

2. In mountain climbing. Viagra is used to help altitude sickness and generally improves high altitude performance "Viagra Improves High Altitude Exercise Performance Up To 45% For Some" http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060624120556.htm

the gripping hand

My mother-in-law, who is 88, is on Viagra to treat her circulatory problems. It has been very effective for her. I'm actually rather surprised that the extension didn't cover that use.

Eric M. Jones.

It all comes down to profit and loss. I wonder how much Pfizer's profits would change if Viagra sold for $2.00/pill? Pfizer seems to base their retail cost on the price of a date, rather than any legitimate manufacturing and sales cost.

I wonder about Pfizer's risk if some upstart or startup company cobbles together a truly better product? Viagra was discovered essentially by accident during heart-medication experiments. I also wonder what would happen if Cialis or Levitra dropped their prices dramatically?


I believe that alcohol and viagra are complimentary goods


Hmm.. just a few impacts

1. Pfizer and it's investors will benefit from ongoing cash flow, some of it may even go into R&D to benefit our quality of life.
2. Pfizer employees and sales reps will continue to be employed, earn money, and spend it in the economy and even buy homes benefiting banks and construction.
3. Competitors will continue to introduce new "me too" drugs to create competition and take economic profits away from Pfizer. Current "me too" drugs will continue to earn substantial profits.
4. Increased competition will give Managed Care companies more bargaining power to increase rebates for preferential tier status, diverting economic profit from Pfizer and competitors to Managed Care Companies. This profit is unlikely to be passed on to consumers, unless Managed Care uses it for incentives to change consumer behavior.
5. I don't know if this drug will ever go OTC, but extending a monopoly on Viagra will prevent it from going over the counter and continue it's reimbursement by managed care which is a cost to managed care.
6. Drugstore chains actually earn less money distributing branded drugs than they do generic, so they will forgo earnings they would have obtained if the drug went generic. However, they will continue to sell substitutes (supplements), benefitting the Health Food Supplement industry.
7. State Medicaid and Medicare prices are based on the lowest possible price, after rebates. Increased competition resulting in increased bargaining power by states and managed care increased rebates mean lower prices to states and therefore lower pharma costs to the states.
8. Demand for substitutes claiming to invigorate a man's love life will continue, and continue to earn profits for GNC and other purveyors of such ilk.
9. Demand for substitutes such as ground rhino horn will continue, maintaining the demand for rhinos and contributing to the extintion of wild rhino.


Adil z

It might actually end up slowly down or cause a greater hindrance to the process of drugs going from a brand monopoly to generic, since other brand drugs might start to follow this....using the viagra decision as an example.
Although it might be weird to do that since the next generation of drugs that are being developed, are getting close to be being seriously personalized, For that I too wonder how it will leave any affect and what?


Bulk e-mailers.


Indian generic manufacturers continue their booming internet sales.

Indigo S.

The fact that all the erectile dysfunction drugs are still under patent and manufactured directly by the brand companies makes it easier to police for poor-quality counterfeits -- anything that proclaims itself to be "generic Viagra" or "herbal Viagra" can be immediately investigated; any pill claiming to be Viagra but not coming from a Pfizer site can be caught, too. There's still lots and lots of counterfeit Viagra out there, mind you, but at least it's possible to wrap one's head around the problem.

Once the patent expires and any chemical company _could_ be a legal source of sildenafil, I imagine both the legitimate and black markets will be flooded with "generic Viagra"; and it will be very, very difficult to figure out which pills are made with the appropriate quality control and which aren't.


personally i don't believe erectile dysfunction exists in most cases - i think it's more just being utterly uninterested in doing it anymore with the same person.

Luis Franco

Well... we'll see lots of gringos buying Generic Viagra in Mexico. Sildenafil is a generic now in Mexico, even Wallmart has its own kind, I think it is about 1.50 USD a pill, or maybe less.

And yes... I think you don't need a prescription for that.

James Thomas

The government doesn't want the prices of these types of drugs to come down to a level where the masses can afford them. Rape and pedophilia would rise, no pun intended, too much. You won't read that anywhere in the mass media though.

Willy Rho

Letters of patent described in the USA Constitution were legalized to protect people with new inventions to encourage new developments, not to stifle competition. Any patent over a set number of years serves only to stop general use of inventive ideas. Continuously extended the patent is a method of knowledge into a non-competitive state, which is tyranny. Any patent in a free society is questionable in its justice to all other citizens. It is very anti-freedom, sort of like the nanny Marxist ideal/mind. Possessing knowledge and not allowing anyone else to use it is EVIL.

bill bestman

PFIZER LOST PATENT IN,,brazil,newzland,,and in europe THE EU gave TEVA the biggest generic company in the world the right to sell APPROVED GENERIC VIAGARA in all europe under name " abra",,and in eygpt where pfizer have viagara factory decreased the price lately for 1.70$ for teh 100mg pill,,and here in states,,,the judge gave pfizer another 7 years extension where they are selling the 100gm pill for 25$,,,( without insurance)...where all over the world ,,the viagara or its generic went for 2-5 $ the pill,,,you ,,figure it out where the mafia is,,,,


Pfizer sucked the right tool to pull this off. I hope Pfizer gets a massive lawsuit to shut them down.