It’s well known that Viagra is the world’s most popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. But what may not be so well known is that it’s not quite so popular in every corner of the globe. Specifically Australia, where it actually comes in second to a more popular product called Cialis. Cialis is a very similar product but claims to last much longer and also treat enlarged prostates as well. One would naturally assume that those differences alone would explain it’s rapid success. (It launched 5 years after 5 Viagra but quickly surpassed it in market-share.) But it actually came down to something much simpler. Cialis was simply the cheaper option. Add that to the fact that it perform as well, if not better, then Viagra. And you have a recipe for success. (For Cialis, that is. For Viagra on the other hand… this creates a major problem.)
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For some strange reason, Viagra is pretty expensive in Australia. An article from news.com.au reports that Australian men pay literally 140% more for the pills then the men in Britain do. This is despite Viagra already experience a gigantic price drop a year prior to the report. (Which should give you an idea of how staggeringly expensive the product used to be.) You might be wondering, why exactly IS the price so high for the guys down under? Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer. But there are several different factors that surely contribute to it. For one, Melbourne University economist Professor Philip Clarke thinks it could be an example of “the limited pharmacy competition in Australia compared to other countries like the UK”. Basically stated that monopolies in the Australia’s pharmaceutical industry are preventing the competition that would lead to better prices. This makes sense, as the Australian government has a multi-year agreement with the Pharmacy Guild that bans supermarkets from selling prescription medicines. Meaning that it’ll be a couple more years before there’s even a possibility of prices improving. (For what it’s worth, A spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild was a bit more optimistic. Saying “”the medicine only came off patent recently and competition is sure to increase.”) Here’s hoping he’s right, but until then the current landscape for ED treatments in Australia won’t change very much.
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And there seems to be many Australian pharmacists who would agree. Like for instance, Sydney-based erectile dysfunction specialist Chris McMahon. Who says ‘‘The high price has always been a stumbling block preventing many men from being able to afford to use the drug regularly,’’ When asked about the affordability of Viagra. An article from the Sydney Morning Herald reports that even in cases where the dysfunction is associated with diseases like diabetes or the result of prostate cancer treatment, most men in Australia receive no financial compensation, with very few private health funds paying for such treatments. Leaving Australian with little choice but to embrace Viagra’s main competitors. (Or the numerous knock-off versions of the product.) So while you may have been shocked to find out the Viagra’s grip on the erectile dysfunction market isn’t quite as tight in Australia. When you really begin to consider the circumstances, is it really that surprising? For Viagra’s sake, let’s hope that in the next few years the product gets yet another much needed price adjustment.