AG Tong Announces $300 Million Settlement Over Improper Marketing and Sale of Suboxone(Hartford, CT) — Attorney General William Tong today announced a $300 Million multistate settlement with Indivior plc and Indivior Inc. to settle allegations that Indivior falsely and aggressively marketed and otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.
Indivior, a Delaware company, will pay a total of $300 million to resolve various civil fraud allegations impacting Medicaid and other government healthcare programs, of which $203,735,800 will go to Medicaid and $90,682,800 will be paid to the fifty states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, as their share of the Medicaid recovery. Connecticut will receive $7,921,070.05 in the settlement and an additional $200,000 for Connecticut Department of Social Services’ state-funded programs.
“Indivior knowingly promoted the sale of suboxone for unsafe and unnecessary purposes, reaping undue profits from states and the federal government while endangering the lives of countless individuals. This agreement will return $7.9 million back to Connecticut's Medicaid program, as well as $200,000 for the Department of Social Services’ state-funded programs. This settlement sends a strong message that states across the nation are united in taking aggressive action against those who fraudulently and callously contributed to the opioid epidemic," said Attorney General William Tong.
“Indivior’s actions resulted in the company fraudulently receiving Medicaid Funds needed by our most vulnerable state residents,” Chief State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr., said. “This collaborative investigative effort between the Attorney General’s office, the Division of Criminal Justice and federal agencies sends a clear message that the fraudulent diversion of Connecticut Medicaid funds will not be tolerated and will result in serious consequences from civil fines, as shown in this case, up to and including possible criminal charges.”
“This national settlement, bringing over $8 million to Connecticut, is another reminder that companies and providers that take advantage of public health programs and put enrollees at risk will be met with strong enforcement action. I join Attorney General Tong and Chief State’s Attorney Colangelo in welcoming this important result for program integrity, enrollees and taxpayers,” said Deidre S. Gifford, Department of Social Services Commissioner and Acting Department of Public Health Commissioner.
Suboxone is a drug product approved for use by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids. The settlement resolves allegations that, from 2010 through 2015, Indivior, directly or through its subsidiaries:
• Promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions that were not for a medically accepted indication in that they lacked a legitimate medical purpose, were issued without any counseling or psychosocial support, were for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary;
• Knowingly promoted the sale or use of Suboxone Sublingual Film based on false and misleading claims that Suboxone Sublingual Film was less subject to diversion and abuse than other buprenorphine products and that Suboxone Sublingual Film was less susceptible to accidental pediatric exposure than Suboxone Sublingual Tablets;
• Submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on September 25, 2012, fraudulently claiming that Suboxone Tablet had been discontinued “due to safety concerns” and took other steps to fraudulently delay the entry of generic competition for various forms of Suboxone in order to improperly control pricing of Suboxone, including pricing to the states’ Medicaid programs.
This present settlement follows the Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (“Reckitt”) $1.4 billion settlement with the federal government and the states in 2019, which resolved Reckitt’s potential criminal and civil liability related to substantially similar allegations involving Suboxone. The 2019 settlement resulted in a total civil settlement of $700 million of which $400 million was paid to the federal and state governments to resolve Medicaid fraud allegations resolved in the settlement. In the 2019 settlement, Connecticut received $18.8 million.
The civil settlement resolves the claims against Indivior brought in six qui tam lawsuits pending in federal courts in the Western District of Virginia and the District of New Jersey.
Assistant Attorney General Gregory K. O’Connell and Paralegal Specialist Orlean Woodham, under the supervision of Jeremy Pearlman, Chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Section, assisted the Attorney General with this matter.