ED in Europe: A Rising Tide?
Worldwide launches of new PDE5 inhibitors to treat erectile dysfunction are certain to expand the global market for these and other ED therapies. But in Europe, Viagra's brand ubiquity, the prohibition of DTC advertising, and disparate national markets present challenges to firms hoping to dethrone the Pfizer juggernaut.
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The near-dormant global market for urinary incontinence treatments is poised to erupt in the second half of this decade-Novartis' recent acquisition of Pfizer's darifenacin introduces one more global player to the mix. But for existing and novel drug therapies to succeed in the fragmented and particularly underdeveloped European market companies must first recognize the challenges presented by cultural taboo and country-specific regulation.
Dubbed "the new blockbuster" by Bayer AG management, the PDE5 inhibitor vardenafil is by most accounts more potent, faster acting, and less prone to side effects than its pharmaceutical cousin, Pfizer Inc.'s sildenafil (Viagra). But vardenafil's potential-and its role as a potential savior of Bayer's ailing pharmaceuticals division-may be overshadowed by the chinks that this same promise has helped expose in the Bayer armor.
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