This will be an interesting test of a supposition of mine

Viagra imitations may flood market: Legal copies could be sold for as little as 85p

Patent protection on \’little blue pill\’ will expire in Britain this month
Rival versions could be sold for less than a tenth of cost of Viagra

I once speculated that this would lead to less spam about dick hardeners, not more.

So, you\’ve got more people potentially able to manufacture and retail the drug. This would, one would suppose, lead to more advertising…..of which spam is a type.

However, I think that the real driver of spam here is the vast profit margins that can be made by supplying something currently priced at a patent monopolist\’s whim. The drug itself is easy enough to make. And pills that don\’t contain any of it at all are even easier to make. The attractions of selling something at £10 when it cost 5 p are obvious.

When anyone at all can get a fully legal version on the High Street for under a £1, the attractions of spamming would seem to decline.

That\’s why I think the end of the patent will leasd to less spam.

11 thoughts on “This will be an interesting test of a supposition of mine”

  1. Stands to reason. If you are selling a product that although not necessarily illegal, it is not legitimate, you use illegitimate methods to try and sell it.
    If you have a product that is available on the shelves of Boots or Holland and Barrett ( no relation ) you use the regular media to advertise it.
    Like, Duh !

  2. “Patent monopolist’s whim”.

    Does that really describe the pricing of a drug under patent?

  3. PaulB

    With hindsight it seems so logical. You are going to get screwed (or lose the income, not quite the same thing), so get in first.

    I presume they did it before the patent expired to get a head start. No wonder they needed to go to the top for buy in.

    Big capital takes a massive hit to avoid a ginormous hit. Give the team a bonus!

  4. New Zealand is one of the few jurisdictions that allows direct to consumer marketing for pharmaceuticals.

  5. In the UK you still won’t be able to “get a fully legal version on the High Street for under a pound” because you’ll need a doctor’s prescription (private) to buy it and that will cost.

    Possibly some pharmacists will link up with corner-cutting doctors to churn out prescriptions, but that’s still going to add quite a lot to the price.

    So I would guess there will still be a market for illegal (non-prescription) sales, so the spam will continue.

  6. From the NZ article:

    Sometimes the best form of attack is defence. And that was certainly the case for Pfizer’s brave, innovative and hugely successful launch of Avigra into the local market to combat the effects of generic knock-offs.

    Video game companies take this approach with Russia. There you can buy a full working copy of the game (online stuff might be restricted, don’t know) for about £10-£15, much less than you’d find it in the west. They’re sold in this manner so that at least some revenue is made from the game, instead of zero if it was £50 (which nobody in Russia would pay). It was actually quite an attractive offer, because a downloaded game could take days to download and might not work when you got it.

    The main drawback was the language and menus were all in Russian…I used to get around this by downloading a knock-off English version from the internet and swapping the language files. And in doing so I discovered in my searches that a lot of people are posting questions on forums looking for help with Russian version of games they’ve somehow gotten hold of but don’t know how to work due to the menus being all in Russian.

    It’s an interesting approach, and one that was also applied to PS2 games (don’t know about PS3). In fact, if you bought a PS2 in Russia it came already chipped to take copied games…no point in buying one that couldn’t, so the retailers (proper, established stores) would chip it for you and give you a warranty of their own.

  7. Miles OT but I don’t know why Tim thinks Viagra costs 5p. Last time I looked it cost the order of a billion quid.

    And the fakes will still be substantially cheaper to supply than generics. You don’t actually think most of the stuff the spammers push is the real thing, do you?

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