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?


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  1. Beerzie says:

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

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  2. iamreddave says:

    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

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  3. the gripping hand says:

    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.

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  4. Eric M. Jones. says:

    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?

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  5. cv says:

    I believe that alcohol and viagra are complimentary goods

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  6. pharmaguy says:

    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.

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  7. Adil z says:

    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?

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  8. m.m. says:

    Bulk e-mailers.

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