ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT VICTORY IN LITIGATION AGAINST SUBOXONE MANUFACTURER
Ongoing Lawsuit Alleges Indivior Inc. Conspired to Maintain Monopoly Profits
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced that the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that 42 states, including Illinois, can proceed with their litigation against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction. Raoul and the coalition have alleged Indivior Inc. (Indivior) unlawfully engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors, forcing people to pay artificially high prices during a time when the manufacturing companies reaped more than $3 billion in profits.
“Our lawsuit alleges that at a time when our country was grappling with a massive opioid epidemic, Indivior was working behind the scenes to limit competition and maximize profits for its drug used to treat opioid addiction,” Raoul said. “I am committed to holding accountable companies that unlawfully took advantage of the opioid crisis, and I am pleased that this lawsuit will continue.”
In a sweeping ruling, Judge Mitchell Goldberg denied Indivior’s motions for summary judgment, holding that the plaintiff states’ lawsuit may proceed. Noting that the volume of facts required “enormous judicial resources” to wade through, the court’s 86-page opinion denied all of Indivior’s motions for summary judgment, and ruled in the states’ favor.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a bipartisan lawsuit against Indivior, previously Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc., in 2016. The lawsuit alleges that in order to preserve its drug monopoly, Indivior used illegal means to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film that dissolves in the mouth, while attempting to destroy the market for tablets. A trial has not yet been scheduled but is expected next year.
In 2021, Attorney General Raoul announced a $300 million national settlement with Indivior to resolve a separate lawsuit over allegations Indivior inappropriately marketed Suboxone, which resulted in millions of dollars in improper state Medicaid spending. In that lawsuit, Raoul and a coalition of state attorneys general alleged Indivior and its subsidiaries used deceptive marketing tactics – namely, knowingly promoting the sale and use of Suboxone for uses that were unsafe, ineffective and medically unnecessary – to boost sales of Suboxone. The company’s aggressive practices resulted in false claims being submitted to states’ Medicaid programs.
Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat heroin addiction and other opioid addictions by easing addiction cravings. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids.
Attorney General Raoul is joined in this victory by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Bureau Chief Elizabeth L. Maxeiner is handling the litigation for Raoul’s Antitrust Bureau.