Cialis One Step Closer To Being Available Over The Counter

cialisadGood news for couples who enjoy holding hands while sitting outside in separate tubs that have no attached plumbing — the makers of Cialis are going to ask federal regulators to consider an over-the-counter version of the popular erectile dysfunction drug.

Cialis maker Eli Lilly and French pharma biggi Sanofi announced today that Sanofi has purchased rights to seek regulatory approval for an OTC version of the drug in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Australia.

If these regulators give it the thumbs-up, then Sanofi would be able to sell Cialis OTC once the patent on the original drug expires.

Eli Lilly says Cialis has rung up more than $14 billion in sales for the company since it was introduced in 2002. The company’s patent on the drug (generic name tadalafil) is set to expire in 2017, meaning Eli Lilly would likely lose a lot of money to generic drug makers who won’t charge a premium for the pills.

An OTC version of the drug would not require a visit to the doctor or a prescription, thus making it available to the larger public who may have either been embarrassed to seek medical attention or who don’t actually need Cialis but want to take it anyway.

Pfizer attempted to bring its Viagra drug to the OTC market back in 2008 to bolster its market share and preempt the inevitable drop in sales once the patents expire, but ultimately decided against pursuing approval after European regulators indicated they would not sign off.

While Viagra (sildenafil) still remains a prescription drug, Pfizer began selling it directly to consumers via the company’s website in 2013.

The original Viagra patent expired in the U.S. in 2012, but a subsequent patent for the use of sildenafil for treatment of erectile dysfunction doesn’t expire un the U.S. until 2019.

[via NY Times]