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Can I buy generic Viagra online?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Dec 18, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Key Points

Viagra is a popular erectile dysfunction (ED) drug, and many people prefer to buy it online. Buying Viagra online is easy, doesn’t involve a trip to the pharmacy, and is affordable, but it's important to do it safely. Sildenafil, the generic name for Viagra, was approved by the FDA in 2016.

Viagra is also one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world. Counterfeit (fake) drugs are often smuggled into the U.S. and may contain poisons, other dangerous medicines, or maybe even no medicine at all. You won’t know who made the medicine, where it came from, or what’s inside. Internet fraud has been linked to online purchases of counterfeit Viagra due to its popularity, famous name, and more confidential way of buying.

Learn More: The Dangers of Fake Drugs: Top 10 Facts on Counterfeit Meds

Buying drugs online can be a risky endeavor if not done properly. Testing done by Pfizer revealed some tainted products contained toxins such as blue printer ink, drywall, and dangerous illicit drugs such as amphetamines (“speed”).

How do you safely buy Viagra online?

If you just go to the Internet and search for "Viagra for sale" online, you may run into trouble. While the FDA has done a good job of tracking down and eliminating fraudulent online websites, new ones pop up all the time.

The safest way to buy Viagra or its generic is to get a prescription from your doctor or other healthcare provider. You can even do this over a telehealth call in many cases, although for your first prescription your doctor may want to examine you. It is common for prescriptions to be shipped in the U.S., so none of this should pose any complications.

If you have insurance, check the covered drugs for your plan. Even if the Viagra brand name is not covered, the generics may be, and are very affordable if you have to pay the full cash price. On average, 30 sildenafil tablets run about $7.50 to $30 cash, using an online coupon. Prices can vary.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra, also offers a copay card for some patients with private insurance. This might save you 50% on up to 12 prescriptions - about $4,200 a year. You can access their contact information here.

Most U.S. insurance companies offer mail-order pharmacy for regular shipment of medications, and you can feel confident that your medicine will be safe.

How to tell if an online pharmacy is safe?

Viagra, its generic option, or any other erectile dysfunction (ED) drug requires a valid prescription from a healthcare provider in the U.S. If you access a website that is selling Viagra or sildenafil in the U.S. but does not require a prescription before shipment, it is most likely a fraudulent pharmacy.

Illegal online pharmacies can look very real on the Internet, so follow all of these tips:

  • Check with the FDA BeSafeRx site and the National Boards of Pharmacy, which maintain lists of accredited digital pharmacies.
  • If using an online pharmacy, make sure it has a legitimate U.S. street address, phone number, and registered pharmacist for contact. Be sure it is a secured website that starts with https:// (not http://) in its website address.
  • Don’t buy drugs from sites that sell prescription medicines without a prescription. Watch out for drug prices that too good to be true, or seem excessively high.
  • Look for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, also known as the VIPPS Seal, on the website. Online pharmacies with this seal have met state licensure requirements, confidentiality, and other strict criteria criteria.
  • For more information on buying an online medicine safely from the Internet, review these FDA tips.

Check Your Medicine

Any time you get a prescription refilled, check the color, texture, and shape of the medicine. If there is anything different, talk to your pharmacist. Never take or give anyone a medicine you suspect to be fraudulent or incorrect.

If you are getting a prescription filled for the first time, or you have been given a medicine that looks different, try the Drugs.com Pill Identifier to check its validity. You can match the imprint, size, shape, or color of your pill and read a detailed description in the drug information. Generic drugs can change shape, color, or imprint between manufacturers.

If you suspect you may be in possession of a counterfeit medicine, talk to your pharmacist for verification. If you think you've purchased counterfeit Viagra, or any other medicine, report it to the FDA MedWatch Program.

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