Mary Ann Malack-Ragona Says U.S. Appeals Court’s Decision to Keep Namenda on Shelves Longer Will Help Alzheimer’s Patients

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

 Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc., says the federal appeals court’s recent decision to keep Namenda available for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will mean that Alzhiemer’s patients will continue to have more choices for their medications.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought a motion against Actavis plc, the manufacturer of Namenda, and the Forest Laboratories, LLC, stating that the drug companies wanted to take Namenda off the shelves because the patent is set to expire on July 11 and did not want to lose money on the generic version. Mr. Schneiderman requested that the medication stay on the shelves an additional 30 days after the patent expires. On May 22, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision in support of the New York State Attorney General’s office.

Namenda — also known as memantine — is an oral medication used to treat moderate to severe dementia related to Alzheimer’s Disease. While it does not cure AD, it may improve memory, awareness and the ability to perform daily functions. Namenda works by blocking the action of glutamate, a natural substance in the brain that is believed to be linked to symptoms of AD. 

In June 2014, ADRC presented a $3,000 research grant to Winthrop-University Hospital’s chief of Geriatric medicine, Dr. Irving H. Gomolin, who is studying how the removal of standard Namenda tablets from the marketplace and substitution with an extended release formulation will impact the blood levels of Alzheimer’s patients.

“This decision is wonderful news for Alzheimer’s patients and those with dementia,” Ms. Malack-Ragona said. “Given that there are so few options available, we at ADRC believe that pulling Namenda off the shelves would have a negative effect on those we serve.”

For more information, please contact Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, at (631) 820-8068 or visit www.adrcinc.org.

Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc. — which is headquartered in Bay Shore and has a satellite office in Southampton — is the only local Alzheimer’s Disease advocacy and educational facility whose mission is to fund local research and provide hands-on support and services to families on Long Island and the New York metropolitan area. ADRC works with family members, health care professionals and researchers to ensure quality health care and support to those impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease through care and consultation, information and referral, training, support groups, and caregiver safety products.