Shockwaves are the new Viagra! The race to replace Viagra….
As the last patents on the erectile dysfunction drug run out, interest in finding new treatments has been renewed
Are we witnessing the end of an era for Viagra and Pfizer? Since the famous “little blue pill” exploded on to the market in 1998, becoming the fastest selling drug in history, the American pharmaceutical giant has made vast sums marketing it to erectile dysfunction sufferers all over the world. Within three months of its launch, Viagra had already earned Pfizer $400m, and over the past two decades, it has consistently generated annual sales to the tune of $1.8bn.
However, this will soon come to an end, as in 2020, Pfizer’s remaining patents on Viagra expire for good. A whole host of generic versions have emerged in the past six years, often in quirky forms such as mint strips or breath sprays, as Pfizer’s grip on the rights to the drug has slowly loosened. Soon, these are expected to flood the market, as manufacturers jostle for a slice of the pie.
This will make Viagra more accessible and cheaper, but for the millions of men worldwide with erectile dysfunction, it could also spell good news in the form of much needed treatment innovations. Since Viagra was launched, few genuinely novel therapies have been developed, and while Viagra and similar drugs like Cialis and Levitra – which all increase blood flow to the penis by blocking an enzyme known as PDE5 – are effective in around 70% of patients, they come with significant downsides.