Pfizer working on miracle pill similar to Viagra after patent expiry results in lower sales

Pfizer working on miracle pill similar to Viagra after patent expiry results in lower sales

Pharmaceutical major Pfizer is working on another miracle pill in order to improve the sales as its popular blue pill ‘Viagra’ faces challenge from generic version of Sildenafil. Viagra has remained popular among men for erectile dysfunction for last 20 years. As Pfizer had priced Viagra among high-end pills, the company generated strong profit from the blue pill. As per reports, Viagra sales accounted for 92% of the global market for prescribed erectile dysfunction pills in year 2000 but the market share reduced to 50% by 2007. Now, Pfizer is working on another miracle pill to boost its profitability.

As part of its cost-cutting plans, Pfizer announced that the company will spend $7.4 to $7.9 billion on research & development this year compared to $7.7 billion spent last year. Compared to Pfizer, Merck and J&J plan to spend over $10 billion on R&D during the current year.

As per AFP report, Pfizer has planned to cut 300 jobs in research projects related to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Pfizer also signaled it could sell its consumer healthcare business, which includes popular over-the-counter products such as the anti-inflammatory drug Advil, multivitamin Centrum and the ubiquitous ChapStick lip balm.

Pfizer would need another miracle drug to boost its revenues. Pharmaceutical companies are also under pressure as the U.S. government has urged them to reduce cost of certain drugs. Talking about future drugs from Pfizer, a company spokesman informed, “Our current pipeline is poised with an opportunity to deliver up to an additional 15 potential blockbusters over the next five years.”

Key challenges include the arrival of new generic products and the growth of the biosimilar market, which allows for substitutes to traditional drugs. The arrival of biosimilars in Europe has cut into sales of the anti-inflammatory drug Enbrel and Viagra itself has seen revenue drop as generics have been launched in the US and Europe.

Pharmaceutical R&D is a tricky business in the United States, where there is extensive clinical testing and back-and-forth with the Food and Drug Administration before introducing a new drug.

Once launched, pharma companies also are under increased pressure to keep drug costs low following a number of controversies over runaway pill prices.

The cost of bringing a new drug to market requires an average of $2.6 billion, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. That’s a heavy investment considering that in the last 20 years there have been just 19 treatments that have generated at least $1 billion in annual revenue for their first five years, according to the QuintilesIMS Institute, a health care data and research company.

Against this backdrop, Pfizer has increasingly opted for a model where it shares the risks and benefits with other drug makers. It has announced strategic partnerships with Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, while also collaborating with biotechs and university researchers in areas such as oncology and immunology.

In December 2017, Pfizer released its own generic version of Viagra.

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