(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced Idaho’s portion of a $700 million multistate settlement with the pharmaceutical distributor Reckitt Benckiser Group (“Reckitt”). The settlement addresses allegations that the company, either directly or through a subsidiary, improperly marketed and otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.
Idaho’s portion of the settlement is $208,410. The money will be split evenly between the state’s general and Medicaid funds.
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 civil settlement resolves allegations that, from 2010 through 2014, Reckitt, directly or through its subsidiaries, knowingly: (a) promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions (1) to patients without any counseling or psychosocial support, such that the prescriptions were not for a medically accepted indication and (2) for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary and that were often diverted for uses that lacked a legitimate medical purpose; (b) 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; (c) submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on September 25, 2012, fraudulently claiming that it had discontinued manufacturing and selling Suboxone Sublingual Tablet “due to safety concerns” about the tablet formulation of the drug; and (d) 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 federal healthcare programs.
The civil settlement resolves claims against Reckitt brought in multiple lawsuits.