Fact Checked

How Do I Get Viagra?

If you think you might be suffering from erectile dysfunction (male impotence) and you’d like to try Viagra, you might be wondering how you can go about obtaining America’s most popular erectile dysfunction drug. Since its introduction in 1998, FDA approved Viagra has become a juggernaut in the world of pharmaceuticals, with over 25 million prescriptions written since its release. More than 30 million men in the United States alone suffer from erectile dysfunction, and this condition often brings with it embarrassment and shame that leave patients unwilling to seek treatment. Before you try to track down the drug through any means necessary, you should know how to get Viagra. 

What is Viagra?

Viagra belongs to a family of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors and is used to treat erectile dysfunction. Viagra was introduced in 1998 and was sold exclusively under its brand name until December 2017, when a generic form of the medication, called sildenafil citrate, was released. Viagra is available in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg strengths, while sildenafil is sold in dosages of 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, and 100 mg. 

Can I buy Viagra over the counter?

Viagra is not available over the counter, but the reasons for this may be different than you think. Viagra is only available with a prescription because the medication may not be safe for men with certain medical conditions or those who take certain medications, including medications called nitrates, which are often prescribed for chest pain, or guanylate cyclase stimulators such as Adempas (riociuguat) for pulmonary hypertension. Individuals who take these medications in conjunction with Viagra could experience a serious and potentially unsafe drop in blood pressure or blood flow. Additionally, rare side effects including heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, and death have occurred in men taking Viagra. The majority of these patients had a previous history of heart problems prior to taking the medication, although some patients had no prior history. It is still unknown whether Viagra can cause or contribute to the possibility of experiencing cardiac issues. Due to the potential for dangerous and more serious side effects in patients taking certain medications or with certain medical conditions, Viagra must be purchased with a prescription.

Is Viagra available without a prescription?

Viagra is not legally available in the United States without a prescription. A system does exist in the United Kingdom for patients with a suitable medical history to purchase the medication with the approval of a pharmacy staff member or healthcare provider, but this option is available only at certain pharmacies and is not widely available. If you see Viagra advertised as being available without a prescription, do not purchase the medication - it is likely counterfeit and being sold illegally.

Can I purchase Viagra online?

The short answer is yes - Viagra, just like tadalafil and cialis, can be purchased online. The reality is far more complicated than that, though. Although you may come across websites While you may find websites offering Viagra or sildenafil for sale, you’ll definitely want to do your research prior to making a purchase.  The problem is that due to its popularity, cost, and the stigma surrounding erectile dysfunction, Viagra, also known as an ED drug, is one of the most frequently counterfeited drugs on the market today. The problem is so severe that Pfizer, the drug’s original manufacturer, created a task force to stop counterfeiters. Studies found that up to 80 percent of Viagra and sildenafil sold online is counterfeit. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the counterfeit drugs sold online frequently contain dangerous ingredients like rat poison, methamphetamines, printer ink, and more. Additionally, the counterfeit medications only included 30 to 50 percent of the active ingredient in Viagra, which means they aren’t effective anyway. While it is possible to buy Viagra online through a licensed and accredited pharmacy, you’ll need to do your research. Remember, Viagra cannot be purchased without a prescription, so you will need to work with an online pharmacy that employs doctors who will be able to prescribe the medication if you have not already obtained a prescription. Some online pharmacies offer the option to consult with a doctor online without a face to face discussion. In these cases, you’ll need to fill out a questionnaire and possibly answer some follow up questions. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Where can Viagra be purchased online?

When trying to source your Viagra online, the first thing to do is research the cost of your medication through a brick and mortar pharmacy. This will give you an idea of the approximate amount you should expect to spend and will make it easier to spot a counterfeiter. Cost should never be your number one concern when ordering Viagra due to the rampant counterfeiting that goes on with the drug. Unfortunately, 97 percent of the websites currently selling prescription drugs are listed as “not recommended” by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) because they do not meet the criteria for online pharmacies. The NABP operates a website that allows you to check and see if your online pharmacy is legitimate and safe or not, so checking the URL there before you buy is a must-do.

How can I save money on my prescription?

If you’re looking to buy Viagra online to save money, you can rest assured that there are many other ways to cut down on the cost of your prescription. Since the release of sildenafil in December 2017, prices for both the brand name and generic versions of Viagra have become much more affordable. At the time that Viagra was released, only one manufacturer, Pfizer, was allowed to produce the drug, driving prices up to more than 60 dollars per pill. The launch of sildenafil immediately cut the price of the drug in half, and as more manufacturers have begun producing sildenafil, prices have dropped as low as four dollars per pill. That means that prices have come down over 90 percent in just a few short years! The tables below indicate approximate prices for a 30 day supply of generic sildenafil and Viagra at a variety of doses.

Approximate Costs of Viagra (in Dollars)

 

Viagra

 

Per Pill

30 Day Supply

25 mg oral tablet

$77.76

$2,332.90

50 mg oral tablet

$77.76

$2,332.90

100 mg oral tablet

$77.76

$2,332.90

 

Approximate Costs of Sildenafil (in Dollars)

 

Viagra

 

Per Pill

30 Day Supply

20 mg oral tablet

$0.61

$18.44

25 mg oral tablet

$9.62

$288.65

50 mg oral tablet

$9.62

$288.65

100 mg oral tablet

$9.62

$288.65

 
As you can see, purchasing the generic form of Viagra can save you about 90 percent on the cost of your medication. Prices are subject to fluctuation based on supply and demand and occasional stock shortages. The table reflects cash prices, which are not valid when combined with insurance plans. Additional discounts may be offered for prescriptions purchased as a 90-day supply; however, this option is not available for all medication dosages.

Insurance Coverage

Prior to the release of a generic version of the drug, Viagra was not covered by the majority of Medicare and insurance plans. While the brand name drug is still generally not covered, the generic sildenafil is covered by most Medicare and insurance plans. If you have health insurance, it would stand to reason that processing your prescription through your insurance is the cheapest way to go, but that might not always be the case. You should also check the cash price, look for coupons, research patient assistance programs, or use a pharmacy discount card, as you may find the medication for even less. 

Coupons and Rebates

There are many benefits to purchasing the generic form of a medication, but unfortunately, coupons and rebates are not one of them. Manufacturers do occasionally offer coupons or reduced copays on the brand name form of the medication, however. The first step is to ask your doctor if they are aware of any existing discounts or coupon codes that may be available, as sometimes these offers are extended upon receipt of a sample from your doctor’s office. If your healthcare professional is not aware of any offers or promotions, search online. Some offers are available directly from a website and can be easily printed off, while others may require registering online and activating a coupon card or completing a questionnaire. For Viagra specifically, you’ll want to visit the medication’s official website to check and see if any assistance is available. 

Patient Assistance Programs

In order to provide free or discounted medications to low income, uninsured, or under-insured people who may not be otherwise able to afford them, some manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs. In order to be eligible for the programs, patients must meet a certain set of criteria, which may include limits on the amount of income earned each year, the type of insurance held, and the underlying health condition being treated by the medication. In many cases, individuals who are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid are not eligible for these programs. Patient assistance programs have varying criteria and may or may not allow coverage by a commercial insurance firm. Patient assistance programs can be available for a specific period of time (such as six months), for the life of the prescription, for new prescriptions only, or for patients taking the medication on a long-term basis. It is recommended to check the manufacturer website to search for patient assistance programs prior to visiting your pharmacy.