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posted by LaminatorX on Sunday December 14 2014, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the good-drugs dept.

Andrew Pollack reports at the NYT that a federal judge has blocked an attempt by the drug company Actavis to halt sales of an older form of its Alzheimer’s disease drug Namenda in favor of a newer version with a longer patent life after New York’s attorney general filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing the drug company of forcing patients to switch to the newer version of the widely used medicine to hinder competition from generic manufacturers. “Today’s decision prevents Actavis from pursuing its scheme to block competition and maintain its high drug prices,” says Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. “Our lawsuit against Actavis sends a clear message: Drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients.” The case involves a practice called product hopping where brand name manufacturers (“product hoppers”) make a slight alteration to their prescription drug (PDF) and engage in marketing efforts to shift consumers from the old version to the new to insulate the drug company from generic competition for several years. For its part Actavis argued that an injunction would be “unprecedented and extraordinary” and would cause the company “great financial harm, including unnecessary manufacturing and marketing costs.” Namenda has been a big seller. In the last fiscal year, the drug generated $1.5 billion in sales. The drug costs about $300 a month.

 
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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @10:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @10:31AM (#125921)

    They're not changing jobs; they were just going to slightly modify something so they could get a new monopoly over a procedure enforced by government thugs.

    Get rid of patents and you'll see competition. No need for this nonsense. Just let the free market work.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @12:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @12:50PM (#125932)

    You can't just get rid of patents in the pharmaceutical industry and expect there to be more drugs.
    Do you think drugs are made by magic or that the invisible hand will swoop down and do all the synthesis, candidate screening, toxicology, pre-clinical trials, and clinical trials for free just so companies can compete on manufacturing the final product?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @03:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @03:19PM (#125951)

      Also, most current business strategies revolve around patents, simply because businesses are going to take advantage of whatever they can. Get rid of patents and new (or old) business strategies would emerge. There is zero scientific evidence that patents are even effective at their goal (which is to help society).

      The problem is that freedom is what's most important. Patents infringe upon basic private property rights, so as a freedom-minded individual, I would completely oppose them even if they did help 'better' society.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by fadrian on Sunday December 14 2014, @03:31PM

      by fadrian (3194) on Sunday December 14 2014, @03:31PM (#125952) Homepage

      Are you seriously saying that the free market can't solve everything? You must be a Commie!

      --
      That is all.
    • (Score: 1) by melikamp on Sunday December 14 2014, @06:55PM

      by melikamp (1886) on Sunday December 14 2014, @06:55PM (#125969) Journal

      You can't just get rid of patents in the pharmaceutical industry and expect there to be more drugs.

      No one needs more drugs. We need better, cheaper healthcare.

      Do you think drugs are made by magic or that the invisible hand will swoop down and do all the synthesis, candidate screening, toxicology, pre-clinical trials, and clinical trials for free just so companies can compete on manufacturing the final product?

      Drug manufacturers shouldn't be in testing business anyway: they have an obvious conflict of interest. If clinical trials are subsidized from taxes, what makes you think pharmaceutical companies won't be able to pay off R&D without patents? Have you heard of the "first mover" advantage? What about all the drugs that get developed in universities? What about big pharma's obsession with symptom relief, when what we need are cheap cancer cures? Finally, what about using research from other countries? Unlike with patenting drugs, there is no ethical concern here. I wouldn't worry about the fate of pharmaceutical research in the absence of intellectual monopoly.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @11:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @11:42PM (#126036)

        Pathogens evolve and become resistant to chemical countermeasures.
        There is a continual need for new antibiotics.
        Now, if lazy physicians would stop giving improper pills to people with VIRAL infections, that would help as well.

        Flu strains are denoted by names such as H18N11.
        That's right, there are 18 possible H type antegens and 11 possible N type antegens. [wikipedia.org]
        By my count, that makes 198 possible permutations.
        As a result, Flu shots are reformulated each year according to what appears to be coming.
        I don't have a problem with the folks who take care of that making a buck.

        Chemotherapy (poisoning the whole body and hoping the bad shit dies first) is barbaric.
        Targeted therapies based on genetic techniques are a vast improvement.
        (Allowing a gene to be patented, however, is insane.)

        We need better, cheaper healthcare.

        Yup--and if USA would copy any civilized nation's implementation (or a create a system that takes the best of each), we could start moving away from our third-world status.

        It's the corporate/lawyer tricks to which I most strongly object.

        The practice of corporations burying unsuccessful therapy trials is something I find perverse.
        As a recent story here noted, that is becoming more difficult. \o/

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Sunday December 14 2014, @07:45PM

      by HiThere (866) on Sunday December 14 2014, @07:45PM (#125976) Journal

      I'm not convinced that the patents on drugs are worth the bad effects in the current system. As someone else said, there is a clear conflict of interest in drug companies validating the drugs that they are going to sell. The current system, were it designed, would have been poorly designed unless the goal was to foster corruption among the drug companies.

      That said, this is a clear instance where there is required to be a large up front investment, the kind of thing patents should work best at. Perhaps the solution is for the owner of the drug patent to be required to license the same patent to all purchasers at the same rate (without specifying what the rate is). But that's not clearly specified, and nailing down the details would be essential. Perhaps there should also be a requirement that the holders of the patents not themselves be the manufacturer of the product. Perhaps the government should pay for testing, and charge a tax on patented medicines to pay for the testing.

      Someone in a slightly different context asserted that any centralized control was only a chokehold point for arbitrary control. I would strike the only, but the rest of the point is valid. So there would need to be an oversight of the testing process and procedures. Open records (with anonymization of patients) would probably be essential, but possibly not sufficient. Etc.

      However, this is a use case where I think patents really are appropriate. Just not as applied.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @09:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14 2014, @09:01PM (#125987)

      This particular drugs is a good example for abolishing patent....

        Mematine is available pure as a fine chemical since the 1970s...
      I know about it since it is a nice substitute to Phencyclidine (PCP) and a damm good antidepressant , it can be purchased in bulk at a about 10$/g for 10g to 20g from suppliers on Alibaba. The bulk of the research on it's effects on alzheimer was done by the Harvard school of Medicine, Forest only licensed the patent before being bought by actavis, a former generic drugs company...

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday December 15 2014, @01:55AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 15 2014, @01:55AM (#126051) Journal

      You can't just get rid of patents in the pharmaceutical industry and expect there to be more drugs.

      You reckon? There are hundreds of medical research institutes living from donation and govt grants (the bulk of financing the research joint I'm working for comes from private donations).
      Many of them have a "translation" dept (how the discoveries can be translated in products on the market)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0