Judge blocking switch of patented Alzheimer's drugs; manufacturer to appeal

A judge has ordered a drug manufacturer to halt plans to discontinue its widely used Alzheimer's medication, allegedly in an effort to drive patients to a newer patented drug.

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet, in an injunction Monday, tells Dublin-based Actavis PLC to continue making the drug Namenda available through July, when generic alternatives become available.

The company says it is filing an immediate appeal to the Second Circuit.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who sought the court order, alleges anti-trust and state law violations by Actavis and New York subsidiary Forest Laboratories in an effort to avoid losses from cheaper generic alternatives coming out next year.

Actavis has said its new drug Namenda XR — taken once daily instead of twice — is better and demand is growing.