Actavis betting on conversion to new Namenda
- With an ongoing antitrust court battle going on in the background, Actavis is busily trying to convert as many Namenda (memantine) patients to the new XR formulation before patent expiry sets off generic competition in July. Namenda is used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Last month, the New York attorney general issued an injunction against Actavis for attempting to force patients to switch from the old version of Namenda to the new version of Namenda XR.
- Currently about 40% of patients have switched to the new version of Namenda; however, Actavis has set a goal of a 70% conversion rate by July when generic competition will become a reality.
While Actavis has a marketing plan in place to accelerate the conversion process, payers may put a crimp in that plan. Although last year, both the IR and XR formulations of Namenda were on a preferred brand tier, 2015 has played out differently, as access to the XR formulation now requires a higher co-pay. Actavis had attempted to preemptively deal with the problem by discontinuing sales of Namenda IR to essentially force Namenda patients to switch, but the injunction effectively ended that strategy. Now it comes down to old-school marketing--detailing and DTC advertising ---to try to move the needle.