Viagra rival Cialis boasts 40% market share

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The Independent Online

Eli Lilly, the US pharmaceuticals giant, claimed yesterday that its erectile dysfunction drug Cialis was rapidly catching up with Viagra, the market leader, and enjoyed as much as 40 per cent market share in some countries.

Eli Lilly, the US pharmaceuticals giant, claimed yesterday that its erectile dysfunction drug Cialis was rapidly catching up with Viagra, the market leader, and enjoyed as much as 40 per cent market share in some countries.

Timing its announcement on the eve of a congress of the European Association of Urology, Eli Lilly also claimed that its drug was proving more popular in blind consumer tests because of its durability.

Viagra, made by its arch-rival Pfizer, may have been the first product of its kind on the market and the one that has entered the popular lexicon as the drug that can refresh uncooperative male parts other stimulants cannot reach. But the conceit of Cialis is that one pill can last 36 hours, giving the recipient greater leeway to pick his moment of ultimate ecstasy. For this reason, Cialis is known in France as the "weekend pill".

According to Eli Lilly's figures, Cialis accounted for 37.5 per cent of all French erectile dysfunction prescriptions in January. In Australia the figure was 40 per cent. In Germany and Italy it was 29 per cent, in Brazil 25 per cent, in Spain 19 per cent and in Britain 17 per cent.

The pharmaceuticals erection wars have been firming up ever since Cialis came on to the market in February last year. Viagra is still the market leader, enjoying almost 60 per cent of the $3.2bn (£1.7bn) world market. A third product, Levitra, made by Bayer, is also muscling in on Viagra's action, its gimmick being that it supposedly takes effect faster than its rivals. All three drugs work by stimulating blood flow to the penis ­ a bodily function that can become problematic, especially in older men.

The New York Stock Exchange was not overly impressed by the new Cialis sales figures yesterday. Eli Lilly's share price drifted down about 0.6 per cent to $67.55 on Wall Street yesterday.

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