Attorney General Morrisey reaches settlement involving opioid withdrawal drug

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reached a multistate settlement to resolve allegations that a pharmaceutical company falsely and aggressively marketed and promoted Suboxone, leading to improper use of state Medicaid funds.
 
The company, Indivior, will provide West Virginia more than $5.2 million, according to a press release. The state will keep more than $1.36 million, while the balance will reimburse federal Medicaid programs—a matter consistent with previous Medicaid settlements.

“Marketing a product using false claims — particularly claims regarding safety of a drug — can have dangerous outcomes,” Morrisey said. “This type of fraud also takes Medicaid resources away from those who need them most. We must never cease in our efforts to root out fraud, waste and abuse.”
 
The settlement resolves allegations that from 2010 to 2015, Indivior promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who prescribed the drug without a legitimate medical purpose and knowingly promoted the sale or use of Suboxone film based on false or misleading claims that it was less susceptible to diversion than Suboxone tablets, according to the attorney general’s office.

The agreement also resolves allegations that Indivior submitted a petition to federal regulators in September 2012 fraudulently claiming the Suboxone tablet had been discontinued, in an attempt to delay generic competitors entering the market, the release states.

Nationally, more than two-thirds of Indivior’s $300 million payout will go to the Medicaid programs.
 
The West Virginia Bureau of Medicaid Services will receive approximately $583,384 of the state’s share, according to the release.

This is West Virginia’s second settlement to resolve Medicaid fraud allegations related to the sale and marketing of Suboxone. The first, announced in late 2019, was valued at $700 million nationally and resolved allegations against the maker of Suboxone, Reckitt Benckiser Group, the office said.

Indivior Inc., formerly a part of Reckitt Benckiser Group, split from Reckitt Benckiser prior to the 2019 settlement.

The West Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit—absorbed by the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office in 2019—receives 75% of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $1,741,964 for the Federal Fiscal Year 2021. The remaining 25%, totaling $580,654 for FY 2021, is funded by West Virginia, the release explains.

Read a copy of the settlement agreement here.

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