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Pfizer's Viagra patent in Europe expires today

As many as 20 generic drugmakers expected to flood the market in U.K., Europe
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It's party time in Europe for generic drugmakers. The patent for Pfizer's ($PFE) erectile dysfunction drug Viagra falls off today and generics are expected to soon flood the market.

According to The Guardian, there are as many as 20 generic drugmakers lined up to put their own versions of the sex drug on the market. Prices in the U.K. are expected to drop from about £10 ($15.48) a pill to about £1 ($1.55). Among those aiming for the European and U.K. markets is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA), the largest generic drugmaker in the world, according to Globes. Sales of the generic in South Korea, where the patent has already been lost, reportedly exploded in the first two weeks that generics were available there.

Viagra is still a big seller for Pfizer. It brought in more than $2 billion in revenue last year according to financial filings. But sales of its sixth best selling drug last quarter were $461 million, down from $491 million in the same quarter a year ago, a 7% fall. Through litigation Pfizer has extended the patent for Viagra in the U.S. to 2020, but half of Pfizer's Viagra sales occur in international markets, Globes reports.

Pfizer recently launched its own website selling the drug, saying it was trying to take one of the advantages away from counterfeiters. The Viagra Internet move includes money-off coupons to stimulate sales. Pfizer offers three free pills with the first order and 30% off the second. The drug giant is working with CVS Caremark to actually fill the orders placed on the Viagra website. It might also be a way to draw sales away from generics for people who want to discreetly buy the bona fide drug.

- read the Globes piece
- here's more from The Guardian

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