Actavis Must Keep Namenda on Market, But Doesn’t Have to Notify Patients, Prescribers
Actavis must keep its Alzheimer’s drug Namenda on the market for now, but a recent agreement with the New York Attorney General will let the company avoid notifying more than half a million people of that fact.
A federal judge in December blocked Actavis from pulling its original formulation of Namenda (memantine) from the shelves to make way for a new longer-acting formulation. However, the drugmaker will not have to fulfill another part of the judge’s ruling: that it inform pharmacists, patients and others that supplies of Namenda would remain uninterrupted.
Actavis contended that such a requirement would have forced it to send out more than 500,000 notices nationwide, according to court filings.
The notification requirement will remain lifted until at least January, when the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is expected to rule on Actavis’s challenge that it continue supplying Namenda for the length of a lawsuit contesting the company’s planned drug switch.
The notification requirement was lifted in part to prevent Actavis from needing to send two separate notices in case it won its bid to pull Namenda, according to the Attorney General’s office.
The latest development stems from a September antitrust lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that claims Actavis and its subsidiary Forest Laboratories intended to replace Namenda with extended-release Namenda XR purely to hinder generic competition and artificially maintain market exclusivity.
Actavis contends that its XR version, which has longer-lasting patents, is a superior product, requiring administration once a day compared with twice daily for the original formulation.
Namenda generated $1.5 billion in sales in fiscal year 2014. — Bryan Koenig