November 2, 2021

Department of Health approves generic Viagra

The Department of Health today approved the registration of Tarim (“lift” in Hebrew), manufactured by Unipharm Ltd., a generic version of Viagra from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE; LSE: PFZ). Like Viagra, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Tarim is sildenafil.

The Israeli patent for Viagra, which protects its exclusivity, expires in February 2014. Unipharm has reportedly decided to register Tarim and start marketing earlier, using the risky launch method.

In a risky launch, a generic company launches a product before the brand name drug’s patent expires and waits to see if the brand name drug maker sues for patent infringement. In such a lawsuit, the generic manufacturer will attempt to prove that the patent is invalid; if he wins, he wins sales during the risky launch period; if he loses, he has to withdraw the generic drug and usually pays a fine. Pfizer will likely sue any company it believes infringes its Viagra patents, even in a small market like Israel, given Viagra’s importance to the company’s sales and public relations.

Unipharm and Pfizer declined to comment on the report.

Generic Viagra will likely be sold for much less than the brand name drug. Viagra is included in the health care basket and is sold at NIS 47 per pill, which costs patients hundreds of shekels per month for taking it as part of a treatment regimen. Competition between the three erectile dysfunction drug makers (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra) has already driven prices down even before the generic versions hit the market. Tarim will require a prescription, like Viagra.

The Israeli erectile dysfunction treatment market is 130 million shekels per year. There is also a thriving black market and counterfeit drugs.

Posted by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – January 21, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013


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