Viagra facing stiff competition thanks to new health startup.
March 14, 2016 | 9:59pm.
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The long, painful era of stubbornly stiff Viagra prices is finally over.
That’s the message from Blink Health, a new, fast-growing e-commerce site that’s bringing transparency to prescription drug prices as it looks to cut their costs.
In the case of Viagra, Blink is pointing out that its customers can buy a little-known, generic hypertension pill that contains the active ingredient in Pfizer’s famous male enhancer — at less than a tenth of the retail price.
A single, 100 mg Viagra dose typically sells for north of $40 at US pharmacies — a prohibitive markup that has forced many men to either do without or try their luck with overseas sellers of possibly counterfeit pills.
But Blink — a New York startup that launched last month with steeply discounted prices on blockbusters like Lipitor and Procor — is offering 20 mg tablets of Sildenafil, Viagra’s active ingredient, for just 76 cents each.
That means you can spend a total of $3.80 for five 20 mg tabs of Sildenafil and enjoy the same effects you’d get from a $40 Viagra pill.
“If the price is cheaper, it widens access to more patients,” Blink Health CEO Geoffrey Chaiken told The Post. “People will use it and be more likely to try it if it’s not prohibitively expensive.”
Blink — a free site that doesn’t require insurance to use — is pushing prices lower in partnership with MedImpact, a pharmacy benefits manager that leverages its buying power over a network of 60,000 drugstores nationwide.
Viagra’s active ingredient isn’t the only men’s staple that Blink is now discounting. Generic Propecia, the male pattern baldness treatment, is being offered at 67 cents for a 1 mg pill vs. the retail price of $2.74.
Acid reflux blocker Prilosec, 20 mg doses of which retail for $2.43 each, is being sold in generic form on Blink for 23 cents a pop — a discount of more than 90 percent.
In the case of Viagra, Blink Chief Financial Officer Gene Kakaulin said he was inspired to investigate generic alternatives when he recalled an old episode of “Sex and the City” in which a doctor takes Viagra recreationally.
“When I found out it was more than $40 a pill, I was shocked,” Kakaulin told The Post. “A very expensive night out, if you ask me.”
CEO Chaiken emphasized, however, that Blink cannot provide medical advice to patients, it can only help patients and their doctors determine the cost of different medications.
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