Pfizer to Offer Generic Version of Viagra

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Drug companies will get their first shot at introducing generic alternatives to Viagra next week, when drugmaker Pfizer Inc.'s patent-protected monopoly expires Monday.

The move is meant to head off what could be large losses in sales when the first generic version of the impotence pill is released by a competitor next week, ABC News reports.

Customers who wish to remain un-subscribed will see benefits, too: Starting Monday, a generic version of the impotence pill will be available for half of the usual $65-a-pill retail price. Generic maker Teva Pharmaceuticals will start selling its version on the same day, though it hasn't announced the price.

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More generics will become available next summer, which could drive prices down by as much as 90 percent.

Patients are paying fortunes. Pfizer's early ads for the pill even created the term erectile dysfunction. Viagra remains a close second.

Pfizer claims that market research shows that 20% of customers are loyal to Viagra, so instead of giving up their sales, the company chose to put forward its own generic brand while fighting to keep men on the little blue pills.

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As many as 12 million prescriptions for Viagra and Cialis were filled in the USA a year ago.

Pfizer has also come up with two discount programs in order to cope with the changes in the market.

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