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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) 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.

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  • (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. []
    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_