The brand-name erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs market has failed to defeat generic copies in terms of sales in the second quarter, according to data from IQVIA.

The size of the oral ED drug market in the second quarter was $25.2 million, up 4.8 percent from the same period last year, according to Korean Biomedical Review.

The global ED drug market, which had fallen in the first and second quarters of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been gradually increasing since the second half of last year.

However, it has been found that generic ED drugs released by local pharma companies are expanding their influence during this time.

For instance, Palpal, a generic copy of Viagra developed by South Korean drug company Hanmi Pharmaceutical, has not lost its lead in the ED drug market for six years after surpassing Viagra in the second quarter of 2013 and Cialis in the fourth quarter of 2015, per the news outlet. Palpal was released right after the Viagra patent expired in 2012.

During the second quarter, the generic version of Viagra maintained its leading position. The sales of Palpal decreased 4.4 percent from the same period of the previous year, but it far outpaced Chong Kun Dang’s generic version of Cialis called Cendom.

Palpal (generic sildenafil) and Cendom (generic tadalafil) have enjoyed popularity among patients in South Korea, especially due to their lower prices than brand-name drugs.

Pfizer’s Viagra has steadily lost its market share after losing the lead in 2013 to Palpal and second place to Cendom in 2018, according to the data. Also, Eli Lilly’s Cialis recorded poor sales in the second quarter.

The success of generic ED drugs is noteworthy because it is rare for generics to exceed sales over brand-name drugs due to their reliability.

A market expert said, “In the non-reimbursable drug market, where the suppliers determine the price, generic drugs have been aggressively expanding market share by marketing their drugs at a much lower price than original drugs.”

“At least in the Korean market, generic drugs have overwhelmed the originals as generics were able to grow due to low prices which gave easier access to consumers,” the expert added.

Industry players have been attributing the success of generic ED drugs to the lack of insurance coverage of the treatment. The story was published in Korean Biomedical Review.