Investigators compare costs of erectile dysfunction drugs from online pharmacies

Opinion
Video

“We looked at the costs of various quantities and strengths of sildenafil citrate [Viagra] and tadalafil [Cialis] from 3 three well-known direct-to-consumer online pharmacies, and we compared them to Cost Plus Drugs, an online pharmacy known for its competitive wholesale pricing,” says Jack Vercnocke, MD.

In this video, Jack Vercnocke, MD, discusses the background for the recent Journal of Urology paper “The High Price of Anonymity: Comparison of Cost of Direct-to-Consumer Mail Order Pharmacies Compared with an Online Wholesale Pharmacy.” Vercnocke is a urology research assistant at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Transcription:

Please describe the background for this study.

Erectile dysfunction is a very common urologic disorder seen in over half of men as they age, and it makes up a large proportion of the men treated by urologists every year. We looked at one study of 2800 men with ED and found that roughly half of the men surveyed would do "nearly anything" to treat their erectile dysfunction. In contrast with these reported attitudes, other studies have shown that a large proportion of men with erectile dysfunction do not seek treatment. Some cited barriers to erectile dysfunction treatment in the literature are access to physicians, cost, and embarrassment. In recent years, we've seen several direct-to-consumer online pharmacies emerge that offer free online consultation that usually consists of a questionnaire, and then they're able to obtain a prescription for erectile dysfunction medications to be purchased through their website. These companies capitalize on the previously mentioned barriers of access to physicians and associated embarrassment. Although the convenience factor is clear, we wanted to know more about the cost to patients for these services and to compare the other options for obtaining erectile dysfunction medications. We looked at the costs of various quantities and strengths of sildenafil citrate [Viagra] and tadalafil [Cialis] from 3 three well-known direct-to-consumer online pharmacies, and we compared them to Cost Plus Drugs, an online pharmacy known for its competitive wholesale pricing.

This transcript was edited for clarity.

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