No More Namenda Means No Generic Next Year

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Last month, I wrote that Namenda was being discontinued by the manufacturer (see the post here), to be replaced with the longer-acting Namenda XR. Forest Laboratories announced its plan to discontinue the sale of Namenda 5mg and 10mg tablets but not because of any safety or efficacy issues, just because they have a longer acting form they want you to use instead.

Now, why is this a bummer for you? While it looks like Namenda XR is the same price (even a little cheaper) than Namenda, immediate release Namenda was going to lose its patent next year. In April 2015, Namenda would have faced competition from generic equivalents and that would mean less money for Forest but a cheaper price for you.  The extended-release form of Namenda will now be the only option available and its patent doesn’t expire for several more years. No one will be taking immediate-release Namenda by the time the patent has run out in 2015, so no companies will make a generic for a drug nobody’s using any more. So, no generic option for Namenda for patients now and Forest keeps making money from its brand name Namenda XR. Sneaky.

Dr O.

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