Secret Ruling Assails Alzheimer’s Drugmaker

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Actavis can forget about its anticompetitive plan to force Alzheimer’s patients onto a new version of its drug with a longer patent life, a secret opinion from federal judge states.
     New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a redacted, federal complaint in September accusing Actavis and its Forest Laboratories subsidiary of “immoral and unethical” conduct in forcing patients to switch from Namenda to a once-a-day pill Namenda XR.
     The Federal Trade Commission uses the term “product hopping” to describe how pharmaceutical companies elbow out generic competition with minor, nontherapeutic changes to their branded products.
     U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet brought some transparency to the case in October when he lifted certain redactions from the scathing, 39-page complaint, based on the lack of connection to the company’s confidential, commercially sensitive information.
     While Sweet refused to show a single letter of his opinion enjoining the pharmaceutical companies, Attorney General Schneider seemed pleased with what he saw.
     “Our lawsuit against Actavis sends a clear message: drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients,” Schneiderman said. “We will continue to protect New Yorkers from anticompetitive practices by drug manufacturers.”
     Actavis has not returned a request for comment.

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