Yesterday, Judge Robert Sweet granted the New York Attorney General’s request to block Actavis and its New York-based subsidiary Forest Laboratories LLC from pulling Namenda, a dementia drug commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s, off the market.  In this “product hopping” case brought in the Southern District of New York, the Attorney General has alleged that the defendants are attempting to force prescribers and patients to switch to a new extended-release version of Namenda before a generic version of the drug can be introduced into the market (see our prior post on this case here).  The preliminary injunction will keep the immediate-release tablet version of Namenda on shelves for the time being.  Judge Sweet has set a hearing for December 15 to determine the scope of the injunction.

Actavis responded to the decision in a press release to express its disappointment with Judge Sweet’s “unprecedented ruling,” but the company “believes that the ruling will have no impact on its ability to continue focusing its resources on transitioning patients to the more convenient and innovative” version of Namenda.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also issued a press release on the ruling in which he stated, “Today’s decision prevents Actavis from pursuing its scheme to block competition and maintain its high drug prices.  Our lawsuit against Actavis sends a clear message: drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients.  We will continue to protect New Yorkers from anticompetitive practices by drug manufacturers.”  The defendants plan to appeal the preliminary injunction immediately.  We’ll follow up next week on recent developments in this case.