New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed an antitrust lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturer Actavis P.L.C. and its New York-based subsidiary Forest Laboratories on Monday, alleging that they are forcing Alzheimer's patients to switch medications in order to protect profits.
“A drug company manipulating vulnerable patients and forcing physicians to alter treatment plans unnecessarily simply to protect corporate profits is unethical and illegal,” Schneiderman said. “By standing up to Actavis, we’re sending a clear message to all pharmaceutical companies: Prioritizing profits over patients’ rights will not be tolerated.”
Forest has been the exclusive seller of the patented drug Namenda since 2004, but the patent will expire by July 2015. The expiration allows generic versions of the drug to hit the market.
Actavis and Forest allegedly intend to pull Namenda off the market early and force Alzheimer's patients to switch to another one of their drugs, Namenda XR, which will have a patent for several more years. This would result in Alzheimer's patients paying for a more expensive drug when they could purchase the cheaper generic drug, according to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.