Viagra Gum? Drug Makers Get Busy as Generics Near

Makers of erectile dysfunction drugs try to find new niches

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2011 2:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Viagra’s chemical patent expires next year, likely opening the playing field to cheaper generic versions of the pill—and in a $5 billion industry, the makers of the erectile dysfunction drug are racing to stay ahead of the competition. Pfizer recently began selling a chewable form of Viagra in Mexico, the developing world’s biggest market for the drug, reports the New York Times. Viagra Jet could make its way to other developing markets, but it’s not yet clear whether it will land in the US.

Meanwhile, similar drugs are nipping at Viagra’s heels. Analysts say Cialis will likely surpass Viagra’s sales this year, and Bayer’s Levitra is for sale across Western Europe as a dissolvable tablet and is set to hit US pharmacies this month, labeled Staxyn. It comes in a slide-out package that’s “pocket-friendly” and “discreet,” says a rep. “‘Gimmick’ is a strong word, but all of this is designed to create new brand identities,” notes an analyst. “A newer product, less expensive, and a new form of taking it—all that might convince more people to try it.”

Viagra is testing a chewable form in Mexico.
Viagra is testing a chewable form in Mexico.   (Shutterstock)
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