30-Dec-14 10:00 AM  CST

Federal Judge Rules Actavis Cannot Shelve Namenda for New Drug

A federal judge has ruled that drug manufacturer Actavis, cannot shelve the prescription medication Namenda for a newer version of the drug that has a longer patent. Namenda, a drug used to help combat the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, was to be shelved by Actavis in favor for a newer version of the drug Namenda XL. Namenda XL carries a much longer patent than its sibling drug, Namenda, and would therefore block any competition that might come from generic manufacturing. Currently, Namenda is taken twice a day. The newer version of the drug, Namenda XL, would be taken once daily, but with Namenda’s patent set to expire in July most critics believe the “improved” version of the drug is Actavis’s way of holding patient’s that need the drug hostage.

In September of this year the New York State Attorney General’s office filed an antitrust lawsuit against Actavis claiming it was forcing patients to switch to the newer version of Namenda, simply to retain profits of the drug. A federal judge agreed with the New York State Attorney General, and Actavis must continue to manufacturer and sell the original version of Namenda along with the newer version, Namenda XL. Actavis gained ownership of Namenda when they purchased Forrest Laboratories. Namenda, which cost approximately $300 a month, is one of Actavis’s most profitable drugs; exceeding the $1.5 billion Forrest Laboratories had reported last March.

The ruling by federal Judge Robert W. Sweet is unprecedented. No court has ever ruled against a drug manufacturer’s practices in such a manner that could possibly help the generic competition. Actavis’s lawyers argued that the injunction would place undue stress and financial strain on the company. The company was set to discontinue manufacturing of the twice-daily formulation in August, but delayed it till October, and than again till January, but with the latest ruling the delay could be indefinite.





Pollack, A., (2014) “Judge rules drug maker can’t shelve old pill “The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/12/business/judge-says-actavis-must-continue-to-sell-namenda-a-drug-for-alzheimers-disease.html?ref=health&_r=0, retrieved 13.December 2014

Silverman, E., (2014) “Actavis ordered to continue selling the Namenda Alzheimer’s pill”, Wall Street Journal, http://blogs.wsj.com/pharmalot/2014/12/11/actavis-is-ordered-to-continue-selling-the-namenda-alzheimers-pill/, retrieved 13.December 2014

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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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