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Why the NFL and Viagra are No Longer Huddling Together

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Why the NFL and Viagra are No Longer Huddling Together

Something will be missing from the television broadcasts of NFL’s 2017-2018 pro football games beginning late this summer and running into the first few weeks of 2018.

Conspicuously absent from the game plan or at least far lower in profile will be commercial spots for the popular erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and Cialis.

Commercials touting the erection-friendly properties of the two drugs are being cut back sharply or dropped altogether from NFL broadcasts and from TV in general. These abrupt cutbacks in the advertising budgets for Viagra and Cialis stem in large part from the imminent introduction of a generic formulation of Pfizer’s little blue pill that will be marketed simply as sildenafil citrate.

Generics Will Trigger Price Downtrend

While the arrival of generic competition beginning on December 11, 2017, will undoubtedly cut most deeply into Viagra’s revenues, many users of other brand-name ED drugs, including Cialis, could be tempted to switch to the lower-priced generic alternative.

Commercials for Viagra and Cialis have long been mainstays of NFL TV broadcasts, but they have also been widely scheduled for broadcasts of hard news, true crime and history shows, as well as other sports competitions.

According to a New York Post article, Pfizer spent $100 million on TV advertising for Viagra over the past year. Nearly a third — 31 percent — of that total was spent on commercial spots during NFL games.

Viagra Advertising Cut Sharply

Given that Pfizer’s Viagra faces the most direct competition from the generic alternative, it’s not too surprising that the pharmaceuticals giant has cut back most sharply on its TV advertising. According to a report at AdAge.com, Pfizer has not scheduled a national TV commercial for Viagra since May 15.

Even more tellingly, media buyers for Pfizer didn’t place a single order for Viagra commercial spots during the 2017-2018 upfront bazaar held in New York City in May.

Viagra Revolutionized ED Treatment

Introduced nearly two decades ago in 1998, Viagra triggered a revolution in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, most of which is caused by insufficient blood flow to the penis. Five years later, the market for ED medications expanded with the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride) and Cialis (tadalafil). Although the active ingredients in the three drugs differ slightly in chemical composition, they all belong to a family of medications known as PDE5 inhibitors.

PDE5 inhibitors temporarily boost blood flow to the penis by blocking the phosphodiesterase-5 enzyme, which can sabotage erectile function by prematurely breaking down a key player in the erection process. That player is cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP, which facilitates erection by relaxing the smooth muscle tissue that lines the inner walls of arteries, thus allowing those blood vessels to expand and sharply increase the volume of blood they can carry.

Other PDE5 Inhibitors

Other PDE5 inhibitors now on the market include Staxyn, which uses the same active ingredient as Levitra but in a form that quickly dissolves in the mouth, thus requiring no water, and Stendra, the active ingredient of which is avanafil.

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The generic alternative to Viagra will be marketed by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, which for years had been challenging Pfizer’s patents on Viagra in the courts. In December 2013, the two companies reached a court-mediated settlement under which Teva would be allowed to introduce a generic formulation of Viagra beginning on December 11, 2017. The agreement also extended Pfizer’s patent on Viagra until April 2020. Under these agreements, Teva will be required to pay Pfizer a royalty for the right to produce a generic version of Viagra until the April 2020 expiration of the latter’s patent on the drug.

Fluidity in Pharma Marketing

Interviewed by the New York Post about the sharp drop in advertising for Viagra and Cialis, advertising industry analyst Brian Wieser said, “Pharma is a category that is always subject to patent cliffs.” However, he noted that while “some brands go away, others emerge.”

Eli Lilly and Company holds multiple U.S. patents on Cialis, which is today the best-selling ED drug in America. While a handful of generic drugmakers are arguing that the operative Cialis patent expires in late 2017, Lilly contends that it should continue to enjoy market exclusivity until 2020 when the last of its Cialis patents expires. This litigation is ongoing, and it appears the courts will have to decide when the first generic alternative to Cialis can hit the market.

Lower Prices Could Attract New Buyers

However, men with ED who are looking to cut costs may take a pass on Cialis and other ED drugs that still enjoy U.S. patent protection when presented with the opportunity to purchase a generic version of Viagra with a lower price tag.

Until the closing weeks of 2017, the only legally available ED medications in the United States are the five brand-name drugs named earlier in this article. To buy any one of them, you must have a prescription. If your doctor has given you a prescription for Viagra or one of the other ED meds, you can fill it at your local pharmacy or use it to purchase the drug from a reliable online supplier, such as AccessRx.com.

Buying from an Online Supplier

Viagra

NFL advertising revenues could take a hit if commercial spots for Viagra and Cialis are cut back sharply or dropped altogether.

For nearly two decades, AccessRx has been an online vendor of prescription ED drugs, as well as other prescription and over-the-counter medications. A member of the Secure Medical family of online drug stores, AccessRx is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, and sells only FDA-approved medications. If you have a prescription from your doctor, you can fax it or scan and email it along with your order to AccessRx.

If you don’t yet have a doctor’s prescription, AccessRx can arrange an online consultation with one of its team of licensed U.S. doctors who can prescribe the drug if he or she deems it appropriate. To learn more about the ED medications available and to place an order should you decide to do so, click here to reach AccessRx’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

 

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About Don Amerman

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Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+