Date
22 August 2017
Patent protection rights of Pfizer's Viagra expired in China on May 13. Photo: Bloomberg
Patent protection rights of Pfizer's Viagra expired in China on May 13. Photo: Bloomberg

Viagra patent expiry opens floodgates to copycats

Chinese pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to produce Viagra-like drugs to treat erectile dysfunction or impotence to tap into a market worth billions of yuan, Ming Pao Daily reported on Wednesday.

Since patent protection rights of Viagra, produced by US drug giant Pfizer, expired in China on May 13, several domestic drug makers have submitted applications with regulators to produce similar products, the report said.

Cheaper anti-impotence drugs are expected to attract more buyers than Viagra once domestic production goes ahead. Viagra sells for about 128 yuan (US$20.80) a pill, much higher than the US$7 average price in the United States.

Copycat versions of the drug could be priced at around 30 yuan apiece, analysts were quoted as saying.

Among the applicants for a license to produce such a drug is Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings, which hired Nobel Prize laureate Ferid Murad, the father of Viagra, as chief of the company’s medicine research institute in January 2012.

The company expects to start production this year once it gets a license from the China Food and Drug Administration, the report said.

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