Reckitt Benckiser Settles Indivior Opioid Investigation

Reckitt Benckiser Vanish Finish Dettol and Harpic are seen in London

Reckitt Benckiser Vanish Finish Dettol and Harpic are seen in London

Reckitt's settlement is only the latest in a series of actions brought by federal and state authorities against companies accused of fraudulent marketing practices for opioid drugs, which have contributed to an epidemic of overdose deaths across the U.S. in the last few years.

Reckitt Benckiser has agreed to pay a $1.4 billion fine to settle a U.S. investigation into the sales and marketing of opioid addiction treatment Suboxone film (buprenorphine and naloxone) by its former prescriptions business.

Suboxone, which proved to be a blockbuster-selling drug for Indivior, is an addiction-fighting medication that also contains opioids.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury indicted Reckitt's former pharmaceuticals business Indivior, which was fully spun out as a separate company in 2014. Suboxone film faces competition from knockoff rivals. Though Reckitt was not charged, investors anxious the company could face a big fine or an indictment.

Beginning in 2010, the indictment claimed, Indivior told health care providers and programmes that Suboxone Film, which contains the opioid buprenorphine, was better and safer than similar drugs, when in fact it was not.

In addition, the government charged that Indivior announced it would discontinue its tablet form of Suboxone "based on supposed "concerns regarding pediatric exposure" to tablets, despite Indivior executives' knowledge that the primary reason for the discontinuance was to delay the Food and Drug Administration's approval of generic tablet forms of the drug", according to the DOJ statement.

As part of Thursday's settlement, Reckitt entered into a non-prosecution agreement and agreed to pay almost $1.35bn to settle the criminal and civil claims.

Indivior was indicted in April over an alleged scheme to push its treatment for opioid addicts and reap billions of dollars from it. The company denied the charges and trial is scheduled to start in May 2020.

Suboxone film is used to treat addiction to other drugs like heroin.

It was also accused of pushing patients towards doctors who it knew were prescribing opioids "at high rates and in a clinically unwarranted manner".

To resolve its potential criminal liability, Reckitt has executed a non-prosecution agreement that requires it to forfeit $647 million of proceeds it received from Indivior.

Settling with the government will protect Reckitt's participation in all USA government health programs, such as Medicare.

Reckitt said that it had acted lawfully at all times and expressly denied all allegations that it engaged in any wrongful conduct, but that after consideration determined that the agreement was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. Sign up to our free newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.