New York declares victory in antitrust lawsuit against drug maker over Alzheimer's medication

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York’s attorney general is dropping an antitrust lawsuit against a drug manufacturer after his office blocked what he alleged was an attempt to force Alzheimer’s patients to switch to a newer patented drug instead of cheaper generic alternatives.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Allergan PLC said Wednesday that they have agreed to resolve the lawsuit filed over the company’s plans to withdraw Namenda, a popular Alzheimer’s treatment, a few months before lower-cost generic drugs became available.

Schneiderman’s office had argued the move was timed to force patients onto a new patented drug Namenda XR instead of the generics.

A federal judge agreed last year, requiring Allergan to continue distributing the older drug until summer 2015, when generic medications entered the market.

“Our lawsuit prevented Allergan from pursuing its plan to block competition, thus preserving patient choice for hundreds of thousands of Alzheimer’s patients, and protecting the public from bearing hundreds of millions’ of dollars in unnecessary drug costs,” Schneiderman said in a statement announcing the resolution of the legal challenge.

The Dublin-based Allergan, previously known as Actavis, confirmed the settlement. The company has agreed to pay $172,000 to cover some of the state’s legal fees.

The company admits no liability under the terms of the settlement.