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Cialis Generic Coming in 2018: Here’s How To Save Now

by Elizabeth Davis on September 20, 2017 at 3:42 pm

2017 and 2018 will mark the launch of generic alternatives for Cialis (tadalafil) and Viagra (sildenafil), the two most popular erectile dysfunction (ED) medications.

Cialis, approved to treat both ED and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), has about a year left on the countdown to its generic. Viagra will likely be available as a generic before Cialis.

Here’s all you need to know about the upcoming generic launch and how to keep your costs down while you wait.

When will generic Cialis be available?

After a patent dispute was resolved in the summer of 2017, Cialis is expected to be available as generic tadalafil as early as September of 2018. Previously, Cialis was expected to remain brand-only until 2020.

How popular is Cialis?

On GoodRx, Cialis is currently the second most popular PDE5 inhibitor, the class of medications that also includes Viagra and Levitra. It’s the most popular of the medications specifically used to treat ED (sildenafil / Revatio is the most popular in the class, but it is only approved for pulmonary arterial hypertension).

Have Cialis prices changed recently?

Cialis prices have moderately increased. Cialis is already expensive, and as a brand with no generic, there isn’t much competition. Like many brand-only drugs, Cialis prices have crept up slowly. Over the past 6 months, cash prices for Cialis have increased from about $370 to over $400—based on actual pharmacy claims for fills of thirty 5 mg tablets.

What will generic Cialis cost?

Generally, generic drugs first appear on the market at about a 15% discount to the brand. Unlike the brand, however, generic drug prices typically decrease very quickly. Within a year of release, many generics versions of prescriptions can become very affordable, especially if multiple companies are making the generic.

Cash prices for Cialis—thirty 5 mg tablets, the most common dosage—are currently about $400.

The latest GoodRx estimate is that generic Cialis will initially cost between $300 – 350. While this is still not affordable for most people, keep in mind:

  • Discount prices will also decrease, probably by a similar amount. That could mean GoodRx prices at less than $275 for the same prescription, a savings of almost $100.
  • Generics are more likely to be covered by insurance, so you may end up with a far lower out-of-pocket cost if you’re insured.
  • Again, generic prices tend to go down quickly. Many generics drop to about 50% of the brand price after more than one manufacturer enters the market—increasing competition.

Are there any cheaper medications I can try for ED?

While Cialis doesn’t have a generic yet, there are other options to consider.

  • First and possibly most important—Viagra will get a generic alternative before Cialis, by the end of 2017.
  • Compare prices (whether you have insurance or not). Look at Cialis vs Viagra (sildenafil) or Levitra (vardenafil)—other common choices in the same class—along with Stendra (avanafil) and Staxyn (vardenafil). They may or may not be cheaper now—but both do offer manufacturer coupons and patient assistance programs, which Cialis does not. See manufacturer offers for Viagra here and Levitra here.
  • If you have insurance, check your coverage. Many plans don’t cover ED drugs, but some will offer coverage for one or two preferred brands. You may be able to pay less at the pharmacy for Viagra or Levitra.
  • Generic sildenafil (Revatio) is much less expensive, and is used by some patients to treat erection problems. However, take note that it is only approved by the FDA for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Your doctor will be able to give you advice on whether sildenafil could be an option for you.
  • For more information on Cialis side effects, and how Cialis compares to other ED medications, check out Iodine’s comparisons with Viagra here and Levitra here. As always, you’ll want to discuss with your doctor if you think another medication might work better for you.

Cialis still works best for me—how can I save before the generic is released?

  • Filling a 90-day supply at once can often help shave a little more off your out-of-pocket costs. You may also need a new prescription from your doctor, or approval from your insurance to fill a higher quantity, so check with your doctor, pharmacist, and/or insurance.
  • Splitting a higher dosage pill can also help decrease costs, especially if two strengths are priced similarly. You’ll want to ask your doctor to make sure this is safe and a good option for you.
  • Use a Cialis coupon. GoodRx does offer discounts for Cialis online. While this may not make it affordable for everyone, a coupon can still knock at least 15% off the full retail price.
  • Try again to get it covered. If you have insurance and your plan doesn’t cover Cialis, ask your doctor about submitting an appeal. For conditions like ED this may not always work, but could still be worth a try.

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