Will Consumers Trust Generic Viagra?

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If there is one drug from pharmaceutical giants that may have changed the world in lifestyle, Viagra might be the first one that comes to mind. It has helped millions of men in their desire to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) has reaped billions upon billions of dollars in sales of the drug. Now a generic version of Viagra is coming to America.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) has almost 600 generics on the market as is. But now it has announced the exclusive launch of its generic version of Viagra tablets in the United States. Teva noted in its own release that its sisldenafil tablets are a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor indicated for the treatment of ED.

While this may sound horrible for a company like Pfizer, the reality is that the ED drug market is greatly different from 2000 and more recent years. A company like Teva needs all the good news it can get.

A serious question needs to be considered. After Viagra has treated so many men around the planet and the United States for so many years, will existing customers be willing to switch over to a generic version of the pill? The switch to generic drugs from branded drugs is not always as smooth as generic drug makers might hope.

Viagra’s annual sales were approximately $1.4 billion in the United States, based upon data that Teva released that cited IMS data as of August 2017. Viagra sales were more than $2 billion in 2012, and that figure was down to $1.5 billion in all of 2016.

Teva is also offering wraparound services to support patients, such as a sildenafil tablets savings card for patients and consumers who meet certain requirements. Those patients may pay as little as $0 out of pocket if they meet certain requirements. The maximum benefit is also up to $100 per fill, for up to six sildenafil tablets prescriptions.

The world of ED now has many more treatments for those in need. There are also Cialis, Staxyn, Levitra and other drugs to choose from.

Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president of North America Commercial at Teva, said of the launch:

The launch of Teva’s sildenafil tablets brings an affordable generic treatment option to the estimated 18 million men in the U.S. who are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. Our team has made it a priority to ensure that patients are able to access this medicine—through both traditional and more innovative channels.

Pfizer shares were last seen trading up almost 1% at $36.08 on Monday, in a 52-week range of $30.90 to $36.78. Pfizer’s consensus analyst price target is $38.24.

Teva was trading up 2.2% at $16.41 a share. Its 52-week range is $10.85 to $38.31, but the consensus price target is now under $15.