Buying Generic ED Meds in the UK
Following the expiry of Pfizer’s patent for Viagra in 2013 and Eli Lilly’s patent for Cialis in 2017, the market of ED drugs in the UK opened up to multiple generic versions of the two medications. In addition to generic sildenafil and tadalafil, generic vardenafil is about to be released in the UK too after the patent for Levitra expires in October 2018. Avanafil (Spedra) is to remain patent-protected until 2023.
What Generic ED Meds Are Legal in the UK?
If you’re looking to check whether a particular generic ED drug is legal in the United Kingdom or not, you can search for it in the UK Drug Database. If it’s not on the list or its status shows anything other than “Approved”, then it’s not licensed for sale in the UK.
Alternatively, you can find information on the legal generic PDE-5 inhibitors below. The information is structured based on the active ingredient used in the generic medications.
Brands: Out of the 20 generic sildenafil-based ED medications listed in the UK Drug Database, 17 are named very similarly to each other, with the name of the medication comprising the word ‘sildenafil’ and the name of the company manufacturing it, e.g. Sildenafil Accord, Sildenafil Teva, Sildenafil Ratiopharm, etc. KRKA and Genepharm market their sildenafil-based ED meds under separate brands – Vizarsin and Nipatra respectively. Sandoz manufactures two versions of sildenafil – Tornetis and Sildenafil Sandoz, both licensed for sale in the UK.
The fact that one sildenafil brand by some pharmaceutical company is approved in the UK does not necessarily mean that the authorization applies to all sildenafil brands by this manufacturer. For example, Sildenafil Ajanta Pharma is legal in the country but Kamagra, also manufactured and marketed by Ajanta and widely available in many countries of the world and online, is not licensed yet. Interestingly, these two medications are virtually identical – both contain the same active ingredient (sildenafil) in the same strengths of 25mg, 50mg and 100mg. The only differences are the color, the shape and the brand.
Forms and strengths: Generic sildenafil is offered in forms and strengths identical to those of brand-name Viagra – 25mg, 50mg and 100mg film-coated tablets. Alternative forms and strengths are also available – for example, chewable tablets, orodispersible film and pills with the strength of 75mg. Note that 20mg sildenafil tablets, such as Revatio, sildenafil-based solutions for injection and oral suspensions are intended for pulmonary arterial hypertension treatment and are not prescribed to patients with ED.
Prices: The prices for 1 pill of generic sildenafil start at just under £1 and depend on the strength of the medication and the brand. Brand-name Viagra costs £5 a pill or higher.
Brands: ‘Tadalafil + the name of the brand’, as in Tadalafil Mylan, Tadalafil Actavis, Tadalafil KRKA, etc. Alternative tadalafil brands like Talmanco or Adcirca are intended for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, not ED.
Forms and strengths: As of now, licensed forms of generic tadalafil are only available in the UK as film-coated tablets with strengths identical to those of Cialis – 10mg and 20mg for the pills for use as needed and 2.5mg and 5mg for the daily ones. While foreign online pharmacies offer alternative forms of tadalafil including soft tablets, oral jellies, etc., these are not approved for use in the UK yet.
Prices: One tablet of generic tadalafil 10mg will cost £2.3 or higher in the UK. Daily tadalafil costs at least £0.82 per tablet. Branded Cialis costs £8.1+ and £2.3+ per pill respectively.
How Do I Buy Generic ED Meds in the UK?
The first thing a person interested in purchasing generic sildenafil or tadalafil from a local pharmacy in the UK needs to do is obtain a prescription. There are 2 main ways to do it:
- Get it from your GP. They will evaluate your general health, make sure that PDE-5 inhibitors are the right treatment in your case and help you choose the right medication.
- Get an e-prescription by filling out an online questionnaire on your pharmacy’s website. Your answers will be reviewed by a qualified healthcare practitioner and, if your application is approved, you will be offered to purchase the pills you need. Note that most pharmacies will ask you for your GP’s contact information to inform them about your new prescription and keep your medical records up to date.
UK-based online pharmacies including both big players like Lloyds or Boots and smaller local vendors offer home delivery of generic ED meds. Alternatively, you can choose to pick your order up at a local store if the pharmacy you’re buying from has land-based departments.
If you cannot or don’t want to obtain a prescription for sildenafil or tadalafil, consider purchasing Viagra Connect instead. Another option would be to order the generic drug of your choice from abroad as in some countries like India, Thailand or Mexico ED medications are often sold without prescription. Importing legal drugs for personal use is allowed in the UK but you are advised to pick the retailer carefully and order in small amounts to avoid problems at the customs.
Viagra Connect is the only ED medication that has been available over the counter in pharmacies in the UK since early 2018. It is manufactured by Pfizer, comes in packages of 4 and 8 pills and costs around £5 per pill. Its active ingredient is sildenafil and the only strength available now is 50mg per pill. You cannot buy Viagra Connect off the shelf, as an assessment from a pharmacist is required to verify that you or someone you’re buying the medication for is fit for treatment with it. However, such assessment doesn’t require physical examination or any tests and only includes basic questions about the patient’s general health condition, drug regimen and symptoms.
Generic ED Drugs and the NHS
As of now, NHS doctors can only prescribe generic sildenafil to those patients who suffer from severe ED resulting in depression or relationship issues. Other generics or brand-name Viagra are also available on the NHS though on a more limited scale. Eligible patients include those suffering from such serious health conditions as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, polio, Parkinson’s, kidney failure that requires treatment with dialysis, single-gene neurological conditions or prostate cancer. Patients after prostate removal or other major surgery in the pelvic area as well as those with spina bifida or spinal cord injury are also eligible for treatment with ED meds other than generic sildenafil.
Treatment with generic sildenafil on the NHS is not free. It is required that the patient pays a prescription fee of £8.80. A maximum of 4 tablets per month will be available.
All in all, UK citizens suffering from ED have much wider access to cheap generic drugs compared to the people in the US, for example. Since the generics are legal and regulated in Great Britain, the chances of running into a counterfeit medication are very low there too. So, if you’re looking for a reliable impotence treatment in the UK, Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Spedra are far not the only options you have at your disposal.
- Vardenafil HCl expiry date in the UK - https://www.dispensingdoctor.org/news/uk-patent-expiries-20172018/
- UK Drug Database - https://www.drugs.com/uk/
- Sildenafil-based ED medications in the UK Drug Database - https://www.drugs.com/search.php?sources%5B%5D=uk&searchterm=sildenafil&page_number=1
- Sildenafil prices in the UK - https://www.doctorfox.co.uk/erectile-dysfunction/viagra.html
- Tadalafil prices in the UK - https://www.doctorfox.co.uk/erectile-dysfunction/cialis.html
- Patients eligible for ED treatment on the NHS - https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/sexual/a3690/erectile-dysfunction-treatment-on-the-nhs/
- Viagra Connect – health assessment for in-pharmacy purchases - https://www.nhs.uk/news/medication/qa-viagra-without-prescription/#does-this-mean-i-can-go-into-a-pharmacy-and-buy-viagra
- NHS prescription fees - https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/help-nhs-prescription-costs