Is Viagra available over the counter?

The active ingredient, link with branded and non-branded drugs; availability in and outside the US

Viagra is the brand name for a medication, sildenafil citrate used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED).  The drug (sildenafil citrate) was first developed to treat high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and right side of the heart, medically known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), under a different brand name, Revatio.  Originally invented by scientists in the United Kingdom, the drug was brought onto the market by Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company in the United States.

 

The US patent for Viagra will expire in April 2020 when other companies known as generic companies will openly be allowed to manufacture their own version of exactly the same Viagra active ingredient, sildenafil citrate, under a non-branded or generic name, Sildenafil (also called generic Viagra).

 

Although Viagra patent has not expired, an agreement between Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceuticals allowed Teva to bring Sildenafil to the US market by the end of 2017.  As of March 2016, at least nine other generic companies filed applications with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture Sildenafil. In December 2017, Pfizer released its own generic version of Viagra, to compete with the generic companies in the non-branded drug market, where Sildenafil is available at significantly reduced prices compared to the price of Viagra.

 

In terms of the branded Viagra, it is not available over the counter (OTC) in the US.  Patients must have a prescription to obtain Viagra at local pharmacies and the medicine remains expensive.

 

However, Viagra patent has expired outside the US. It ended in Europe in June 2013, allowing generic companies to start making their own non-branded version of Viagra or Sildenafil.  In the UK, Viagra is available OTC from the pharmacy and registered online pharmacies, without a prescription under the name, Viagra Connect.  This is aimed at making Viagra more accessible (as generic Viagra is significantly cheaper than its branded version, Viagra) and removing the need for the huge Viagra counterfeit and dangerous online market.  

 

References

  1. VIAGRA CONNECT, What is VIAGRA CONNECT? [website] 2018, https://www.viagraconnect.co.uk/what-is-viagra-connect, (accessed September 25, 2019).
  2. RPS, RPS produces professional guidance for Sildenafil 50 mg film-coated tablets, P medicine (Viagra Connect), [website] 2018 https://www.rpharms.com/about-us/news/details/rps-produces-professional-guidance-for-sildenafil-50-mg-film-coated-tablets-p-medicine-viagra-connect, (accessed September 25, 2019).
  3. MEDICALNEWSTODAY, Uses and risks of Viagra, [website] 2018 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232912.php, (accessed September 25, 2019).
  4. Forbes, With Viagra Now Available Over-The-Counter In The U.K., Will The U.S. Follow Suit? [website] 2018 https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2018/05/01/with-viagra-now-available-over-the-counter-in-the-uk-will-the-us-follow-suit/#7200aebd75b6, (accessed September 25, 2019).
  5. PharmacyChecker.com, How can I get Viagra without a prescription? [website] 2018 https://www.pharmacychecker.com/askpc/how-can-i-get-viagra-without-a-prescription/,  (accessed September 25, 2019).

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