The Price of Lilly's Cialis Has Doubled Since Its Launch

Last Updated Jan 11, 2010 1:32 PM EST

The price of Eli Lilly (LLY)'s Cialis has more than doubled since it was introduced, according to AccessRx, an online pharmacy. Cialis was launched in 2003 at a wholesale price of $8.10 per pill. It now costs $16.67 per pill, and is more expensive than Pfizer (PFE)'s Viagra:
Cialis, manufactured by Lilly, was introduced in November of 2003 at a wholesale base cost of $8.10 â€" the exact price of Viagra at that time. Since then, Pfizer and Lilly have raised the cost of Viagra and Cialis at about the same rate. Since 2005, however, Cialis has been slightly more expensive than Viagra, with a maximum difference of $1.50 per pill. Currently, the wholesale base cost for Cialis is $16.67, or about 47 cents more per pill than Viagra. Since its introduction, the cost of Cialis has risen 105%.
Lilly hiked the price of Cialis three times in 2009 and twice in 2008, according to AccessRx's numbers*:

Lilly appears to be trying to find out the maximum price it can charge for Cialis before customers balk and turn to Viagra or Bayer's Levitra. Despite the increases, sales of Cialis rose 5 percent in Q3 2009 to $397 million (see page 32).

There's a limit to the price increases Lilly can take: In 2012 Viagra goes generic and the market will be flooded with cheap competitors. At that point, Cialis' price rises will wilt like ... well, you get the idea.

*Disclosure: The author previously performed a freelance writing project for AccessRx.