WV to receive more than $5.2M in pharmaceutical company settlement

West Virginia
Suboxone is prescribed to help addicts safely wean off illegal drugs.

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A multi-state settlement has been reached to resolve allegations against a pharmaceutical company.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says those allegations claim the company, Indivior, “falsely and aggressively marketed and promoted Suboxone, leading to improper use of state Medicaid funds.” Suboxone is used to suppress the symptoms of opioid withdrawal in drug treatment plans.

As part of the settlement, West Virginia will receive more than $5.2 million from the company. According to Morrisey’s office, the state will keep $1.36 million from the settlement and the remainder will go toward reimbursing federal Medicaid programs, which he says is consistent with previous Medicaid settlements.

The attorney general’s office says more than two-thirds of the company’s $300 million payout will go to Medicaid programs across the country. Morrisey says approximately $583,384 of the state’s $5.2 million share will go toward the West Virginia Bureau of Medicaid Services.

“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 WV attorney general says from 2010 to 2015, Indivior allegedly promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who prescribed the drug without a legitimate medical purpose and promoted selling and using Suboxone film “based on false or misleading claims” that said the film was less susceptible to being misused than the Suboxone tablets.

According to Morrisey’s office, the settlement also resolves allegations that claim Indivior submitted a petition to federal regulators in September 2012 falsely claiming Suboxone tablets had been “discontinued in an attempt to delay generic competitors entering the market.”

Morrisey says this is the state’s second settlement to resolve Medicaid fraud allegations regarding the sale and marketing of Suboxone. He says the first was announced in 2019 and resolved for around $700 million nationwide against Reckitt Benckiser Group, which Indivior Inc. had split from before that settlement.

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