- The New York attorney general is continuing his antitrust suit against Actavis for attempting to force patients to switch to its new Alzheimer's medication, Namenda (memantine) XR, and limiting availability of the current versio of Namenda, slated to go off patent in July.
- This case has been brewing since September 15, 2014, when the action was filed.
- Actavis argues that the injunction benefits its generic rivals and actually stymies future innovation.
Line-extension efforts in anticipation of patent expiration are not unusual and are often a successful strategy for many pharma companies. However, in this case, it's different. The stakes are high. There is no other Alzheimer's drug like Namenda and there are five generics manufacturers poised to introduce a generic. In addition, Actavis attempted to limit sales of Namenda before the drug went off patent, and used the tactic of a "forced" switch.
There is support on both sides. On the side of the attorney general are consumer groups, such as the AARP, doctors and health insurers. However, there has also been support for Actavis from antitrust attorneys, economists and the pharmaceutical lobby.