Fund Says Actavis Conspired to Block Generic Alzheimer Drug

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Actavis Plc’s Forest Laboratories unit was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring with other drugmakers to block generic competition for the Namenda Alzheimer’s medicine.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association Health and Welfare Fund, which provides drug benefits to active and retired New York City police sergeants, sued the drugmakers claiming the conspiracy forced it to pay more for Namenda.

Forest improperly got a patent extension for Namenda to 2015 from 2010, the fund alleged. It also dropped patent suits against generic drugmakers and entered into licensing agreements with the firms in which they agreed to delay competing with Forest, according to the lawsuit.

Forest also tried to force patients to buy a newer, longer-lasting version of the drug, Namenda XR, before the cheaper generics went on sale, according to the complaint.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in December won a preliminary order forcing Actavis to keep the older version of Namenda on the market until generic versions became available.

A federal appeals court in New York concluded the company’s plans to take the original Namenda off the market and switch consumers to the longer-lasting version amounted to collusion. Actavis and Forest lost a bid for a re-hearing on the decision.

David Belian, a spokesman for Actavis, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment about the suit.

The case is: Sergeants Benevolent Association Health and Welfare Fund v. Actavis Plc

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