Kentucky sharing in $300 million drug settlement

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky is sharing in a $300 million multistate settlement with Indivior to resolve allegations of improperly marketing and selling opioid addiction recovery medication.


Under the terms of the settlement, Indivior agreed to pay over $203 million to Medicaid and more than $90 million to the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  Attorney General Daniel Cameron says Kentucky will receive $10,311,150.98 in restitution and recoveries.


In their complaint, the multistate coalition contends Indivior falsely marketed Suboxone, a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to reduce withdrawal symptoms for individuals suffering from opioid addiction and undergoing recovery treatment.  Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids.


The settlement resolves allegations that from 2010 to 2015 Indivior:


--Promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians writing prescriptions for illegitimate medical purposes; issued the drugs without counseling or psychosocial support; and offered medication in an unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary manner.


--Made misleading claims regarding the diversion, abuse, and risk of accidental pediatric exposure of Suboxone Sublingual Film, a newer version of Suboxone that dissolves under the tongue.


--Fraudulently informed the FDA that the drug had been discontinued “due to safety concerns” about the formulation of the drug.


--Took steps to illegally delay generic versions of Suboxone from entering the market to control pricing of Suboxone, including pricing to state Medicaid programs.


This civil settlement also concludes claims against Indivior in six lawsuits pending in federal courts in Virginia and New Jersey.


“The deceptive marketing of opioid treatment drugs only deepens the struggle of Kentuckians working to recover from substance use disorders,” Cameron stated.  “This settlement awards $10.3 million to the Commonwealth, and it sends a clear signal that the illegal use of Kentucky’s Medicaid dollars will not be tolerated.”


Cameron’s Medicaid Fraud Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $3,225,000 for Federal fiscal year 2021.  The remaining 25 percent, totaling $1,075,000 for 2021, is funded by state of Kentucky.

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