The People's Perspective on Medicine

What is a Fair Price for ED Drugs for Sex?

Why won't insurance companies pay for ED drugs? They must assume that sex is not important and that erectile dysfunction doesn't deserve treatment. Are there any ways to save money on ED drugs?

Erectile dysfunction is not considered a serious health problem by most insurance companies. That’s because few, if any, are willing to pay for ED drugs like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra). As a result, men who have a hard time achieving or maintaining an erection are on their own. One reader wants to know why the cost of ED drugs is so high?

Why Are ED Drugs Priced So Close?

Q. Drugs for erectile dysfunction are all extremely expensive. Are their prices being fixed, as I suspect? The price has steadily increased to about $60 a pill. And the prices are virtually the same for each brand name drug. This has been the case as soon as three ED drugs became available. This can’t be by coincidence!

I’ve tried to interest my Congressmen and senators about this but have had no response whatsoever. Can you spur a Congressional investigation?

A. Drugs for erectile dysfunction are indeed pricey. A single 10 mg dose of Cialis (tadalafil) costs about $60. Levitra (vardenafil) is also nearly $60 a pill. As you have noted, brand name Viagra (sildenafil) is in the same ballpark. The generic version is substantially less expensive, however.

What Happened To Competition and Free Market Capitalism?

We have no way of determining how drug companies adjust their prices. Competition is supposed to lead to lower prices, but it doesn’t seem to work that way for many brand name prescription drugs.

Many brand name antidepressants range in price from around $300 to $400 for a month’s supply. One would think that if capitalism were working, the maker of Prozac would reduce the price of its pills to gain competitive advantage over the makers of Cymbalta, Lexapro, Pristiq or Zoloft. Such is not the case.

What About Generic Drugs?

Generic drugs are not immune. Last spring, 45 states and the Department of Justice uncovered a bid-rigging scheme that may have cost consumers and businesses a billion dollars. The prosecutors found evidence regarding the antibiotic doxycycline, but other generic drugs were probably also affected.

Are There Solutions to Pricey Pills?

Readers have come up with some creative ways to beat the high cost of ED drugs.

Marilyn in Houston is using sildenafil for another reason:

“I read your column today in the Houston Chronicle about high drug prices for ED drugs and wanted to share my experience with buying sildenafil at a significantly lower price. I am a woman and am taking sildenafil for off-label purposes (severe Raynaud’s with fingertip ulcers). My insurance company would not cover it. My regular pharmacy was going to charge me $1000 for sixty 50 mg pills!

“My doctor’s office told me about, and I was able to get this same prescription for $30 at a different pharmacy. The website basically does the price comparison for you. I don’t know if you are able to share this information on your website or in your column, but being able to easily shop around for the cheapest drug price can make all the difference in being able to afford the drug or not.

“There is also, but I have not tried them yet.”

Rick came up with a different solution:

“Your recent article about the exorbitant cost of these drugs does not address the savings if purchased from a Canadian pharmacy. Rather than $60 per pill, A Canadian pharmacy sells brand Levitra for $16 per pill.”

You can learn more about online Canadian pharmacies in our Guide to Saving Money on Medicine. Not all websites that proclaim they are in Canada are legitimate. There are a lot of counterfeit ED drugs sold on the Internet. Please be careful when trying to save money.

To learn about more about one ED drug that can be purchased more affordably you may wish to read our article:

How Can You Buy Viagra (Sildenafil) at an Affordable Price?

You will discover that one company (Greenstone) makes a generic version of Viagra that is identical to the brand name product. That’s because it is an authorized generic. It is much less expensive than Viagra, however.

Share your own money-saving strategies in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Great Britain has just approved the sale of Viagra over the counter. I think a pack of 8 pills cost $45 (35 uk pounds).

If you have a preferred membership at Sam’s Club a prescription for 30 of the 20 mg generic Viagra cost $10

Any one out there have a condition called venous leak, where the blood does not stay in the penis arteries? If so, what are you doing for your condition?

You might like to read this abstract

I really am beginning to think copper helps in this department. Our fav right now is Source Naturals Copper Sebacate. You probably should separate zinc and copper a few hours if you take them. Also discuss this with your doctor. We’re taking a zinc glucanate right now but seriously thinking of starting optizinc probably Vitacost.

I have had some success with the ED pills. I use a pump other times. There is no cure, and any surgical alternative is VERY expensive – $50,000 or more, and the success rate is only 30% or so. Not many are doen in the US – but Taiwan has had some success.

Try the pills with the pump and the constriction band. Not desireable – but it works.

My urologist recommended Empower Pharmacy in Houston, Texas. We have ordered testosterone (both injectible and cream for topical), tadalafil, and sildenafil from them at reasonable prices.

Does cialis help with prostate shrink

I get Cialis from a compounding pharmacy that charges $50.50 including shipping for 30 tablets. My urologist sent me to them. It pays to ask!

I would like to know how to help ED without the use of medications? Thoughts? Thanks!

I love using Good Rx for my Levoxyl prescription. Also wondered right away “if” the ED drugs can be cut in half? That might save some money. That said, I have decided that copper helps libido. We were taking zinc so also needed to take copper. They compete for absorption so I decided we’d take copper at lunch and zinc at supper. My hubby had libido problems since taking finasteride and he’s finally a OK, I think it helps me too. It’s really best to be tested for rbc copper and consult with your doctor on taking these minerals. Copper & zinc is the only thing we’ve changed.

I’ve had a positive result in that I am no longer cold and I really think it’s the copper. I have low ferritin and thyroid disease

Boron is supposed to help libido and btw, it helps us absorb copper.

My urologist is treating me for both ED & enlarged prostate. I re-
quested him to prescribe Cialis DAILY for treatment of the latter.
He agreed, but doubted Medicare would pay for it. He had to fill
out some forms, but they agreed to pay. After I pay my annual
deduction, a month’s supply of Cialis costs me only $21. !! Yes, you
read that right. In addition to helping my enlarged prostate, I don’t
have to tell you how happy I am with how much it helps with my
(former) ED. I am 68 yrs. old and smiling. . . “George” in Va

ED drugs aren’t the only ones being gouged through the roof, and men aren’t the only ones being singled out. Estrace, an estrogen replacement cream used by half of the post-menopausal female population to maintain vaginal health, jumped from an already insane $75 a tube — it costs about $6 to make it — to $375 and higher. And they wonder why people are turning to holistic treatments! Sheesh, lemme think…

You can ask your doctor for a presciption for Sildenafil 20mg tablets, 90 day supply as this is often prescribed for other conditions. Use GoodRx and Costco and it will be about $45 or 50 cents each. one is usually enough if you just need a little help but even taking a max ED amount of 100mg, 5 tablets at one time, is just $2.50!. I do not know why this is not more common knowledge as it was first used for pulmonary arterial hypertension and the side effect of an erect penis turned into the real money maker.

Thanks for addressing my concerns about the price fixing of ED drugs. BUT, what I really wanted you to also do was encourage your readers and listeners to call, write or email their congressional representative and voice their concerns and demand that they hold congressional hearings. To bring the CEO’s of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra in front of congress and on TV and make them answer how this is not price fixing.
Dr. Glassman

Try Canada. There is absolutely no reason that the same products would be exponentially less expensive. If “our” legislators were serious, they would legitimize Rx’s from Canada. Ridiculous. Is this a monumental task? I think not. Maybe congress is composed of dumb people. Watch some of the interviews and you would be astounded by the people that are Ruling us and we continue to re-elect them.

They’re not dumb, they’re bought and paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Corporate money has resulted in the complete corruption of politicians.

I get 20 mg sildenafil tabs ( have to take 5 for 100mg dose) at a local independent pharmacy for about 50 cents each. Ask your physician and shop around for best price. A well known national chain pharmacy wanted $1000 for 50 of the 20mg tabs a couple years ago.

Same issues arise in relation to birth control for women.

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