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    You are here: Home > Pharmacy News | Health Articles/Tips > Pfizer > June 20, 2011

      Pfizer in Court to Protect Viagra Patent

      Pfizer’s Viagra, hailed as the ultimate aphrodisiac, is dispensed as a prescription drug in about 110 countries worldwide for the treatment of male erectile dysfunction/impotence and pulmonary arterial hypertension as well. Being a genericized trademark, Viagra has become the colloquial and almost a household name—thanks to Pfizer’s head start, a pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry.

      With over 120 million prescriptions written so far, Viagra, the little blue pill, remains to be one of the world’s top-selling drugs in the medical history since its launch in 1998. With Generic Viagra’s patent expiring in 2012 and patent protection being the top priority for any drug maker, Pfizer Inc. plans to go to court to protect its exclusive rights on the sale of Viagra. In the event of its victory, Pfizer could extend its market monopoly till 2019. However, Pfizer may soon face the prospect of global competition with cheap generics of Viagra—though it predominantly owns the market for impotence drugs.

      With about $1 billion worth of Viagra sales per year in the United States, the victory over the patent term extension on Viagra can be a good news for Pfizer but not so for consumers who still have to pay $15 to $20 per pill. Such a continued monopoly can give a financial boost to Pfizer by about 3% annual increase in its earnings between 2013 and 2018.

      Initially, Pfizer had developed the drug with sildenafil as the active ingredient to treat heart-related problems such as hypertension. Clinical trial of this drug showed that there were spontaneous erections in men taking sildenafil. This discovery led Pfizer to market sildenafil for erectile dysfunction.

      Recently, Pfizer has also filed a patent infringement suit against Watson Pharmaceuticals over its proposal to market the generic version of Viagra. Pfizer filed this suit in order to prevent Watson from commercializing its original drug. This is consequent to Watson Pharmaceuticals’ filing with FDA for getting approval to market sildenafil citrate tablets.

      Pfizer’s patent on Viagra has lapsed in New Zealand following Finland and Italy. This has prompted Pfizer to release an identical version of Viagra in the name called Avigra in New Zealand.

      June 20, 2011


       

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