Pfizer celebrates 20 years of Viagra

On March 27th, 1998–exactly 20 years ago–Pfizer launched Viagra, which since then has been marketed in 120 countries and has delivered sales of almost $30bn. Viagra  (Sildenafil ) was discovered by Pfizer’s scientists Andrew Bell, David Brown and Nicholas Terrett. It was firstly meant to treat heart diseases such as angina: it was only later that Pfizer had the idea of marketing it for one of its side effects detected by researchers–solving male impotence. The drug lost its patent protection several years ago and its sales dropped from over $2bn (2012) to little over $1bn (2017), due to the generics marketed by Mylan, Biogaran, Zentiva and Teva, which sell their products for 20% the price set by Pfizer. Additionally, Viagra faces competition by counterfeit products, illegally sold on the Internet, especially by Chinese laboratories. Pfizer’s market share has also shrunk over the years, due to the introduction of new molecules such as Eli Lilly’s Cialis (tadalafil) and Bayer’s Levitra (vardenafil).

(Source: Les Echos)