Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) will soon launch a generic version of Pfizer Inc.'s Viagra in the UK and other European countries, sources inform "Globes." The impotence treatment is one of the world's bestselling drugs. Pfizer's Viagra sales reached $2 billion in 2012, half of this in the US.
In the UK and other countries Viagra's patent expires this weekend, allowing Teva (and other generic manufacturers) to launch a generic version. Teva has confirmed that it plans launching a generic version called Sildenafil in the European countries where the patent expires.
In the US, Teva has been prevented from launching a generic version of Viagra by a court ruling that the patent is valid until 2020. However, Teva did launch a generic version in Canada several months ago following a positive ruling after five years of legal proceedings.
According to reports in the UK, in 2012 alone, 2.3 million prescriptions were written for the drug, costing the National Health Service £40 million. The price of the drug will be reduced from £10 to £1 when generic versions are launched. For the sake of comparison, the patent on Pfizer's largest drug Lipitor, for lowering cholesterol, expired last year, and the company saw annual sales fall 58.8% from $9.6 billion to $4 billion. Despite the large erosion in sales which generic competition brings, it is unlikely that the launch of generic Viagra will be of major financial significance to Teva, but in any event it will be welcome news for the company.
There have been major legal proceedings between Teva and Pfizer over the years regarding the latter's branded drugs. Only last week, Teva reached a settlement over a patent infringement in connection with heartburn treatment Protonix. Teva has agreed to pay Pfizer $1.6 billion in two stages.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 20, 2013
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