Japan firms to engage in stiff competition as generic Viagra arrives

Shukan Jitsuwa June 19
Shukan Jitsuwa June 19

A report appearing in weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa in April indicated that a generic variation of Viagra, the drug that treats erectile dysfunction, would arrive on Japan’s market in July or August of this year.

Christmas, however, has come early for Japan’s approximately 18 million males who suffer from erectile dysfunction: On May 26, pharmaceutical company Towa Yakuhin issued a generic Viagra product called Towa.

Experts tell the weekly tabloid in its June 19 issue that downward pressure on pricing will soon hit the market as many cheaper alternatives arrive.

The 50mg Towa tablets, available in two flavors, coffee and lemon, sell for 1,250 yen each, a discount of 350 yen over the real McCoy.

“With that pricing, a flood of ED patients will make the switch,” says the director of an ED clinic in Tokyo.

The precedent for the release of Towa is a legal matter. The patent for Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, expired in Japan on May 13. Further, the patent for its main ingredient, Sildenafil, lapsed in May of last year.

Stiff competition in the market for knock-offs is now expected to commence.

“I know of five companies that are planning to issue generic Viagra,” says a manager at a pharmaceutical company. “It will be a battle for survival as a price war is certain to break out.”

Until Towa Yakuhin’s move, the companies with an interest in the market had been suspended in something of a stare down, the manager adds, “but now with the Towa release it is heading to a full-blown price war.”

According to Shukan Jitsuwa, the market for generic Viagra is worth 10 billion yen annually. With such high stakes, many companies are expected to pull out of the market as competition increases.

Towa Yakuhin’s generic Viagra product called Towa

The aforementioned manager expects things to get interesting in July, when more companies will issue products. “At that time,” the manager says, “it will be like a intense game in which combatants wait and watch the moves of the opposition.”

Prices will fall with each successive release. “There is a high probability that this will cause the price of Viagra itself to also drop,” the manager says.

There’s no doubt that this is good news for Japan’s middle-aged men, enthuses Shukan Jitsuwa, which wonders what it’s like to hear 18 million men clapping.

Source: “Honshi kiho gekiyasu jinerikku baiagura hatsubai de hajimaru seiyakugaisha kato kyoso,” Shukan Jitsuwa (June 19)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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