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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: 2) by frojack on Sunday December 14 2014, @09:16PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 14 2014, @09:16PM (#125994) Journal

    We don't know anything about their current profit on this old drug, only that they expect to see considerable competition for it by july.
    (The story give sales figures, which do not equate to profit). Since they have no competition now, I expect they are making a hansom profit.)

    They could jack the price over the next 6 months.
    They could drop the price over the next six months and fill the supply chain to suppress orders for the competitors.
    They could simply match the price of the new drug and let the market sort it out.
    They could drop the price of the new drug and thereby kill any incentive for generics to get into business.
    They could manufacture just enough to keep it in the catalog.

    There are lots of ways to end-run the Judge. The proper way is to appeal his ruling on the basis that it is unconstitutional, and there was no crime committed.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
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  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday December 15 2014, @01:29AM

    by sjames (2882) on Monday December 15 2014, @01:29AM (#126047) Journal

    We can be fairly certain they're making a profit. If it can't be made profitably, there wouldn't be any competition lining up.

    There are a lot of dick moves available to them in addition to the one the judge said no to, but there are also regulations that may cover some or all of them. They chose to enter a regulated industry (where availability is one of the regulations) and to benefit a great deal from special protections and status for several years. They don't get to abuse that special advantage.

    If they want to continue the abuses, perhaps we need a second source law for drugs to keep it in check.