North Carolina will receive $7.02 million out of a $300 million national settlement with pharmaceutical companies Indivior Plc and Indivior Inc., the N.C. Attorney General’s Office said Monday.
The settlement involved allegations that between 2010 and 2015 the companies “falsely and aggressively marketed and otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone.”
The attorney general’s office said Indivior’s business activities resulted “in the improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.”
North Carolina will receive $7,018,626.59 in restitution and other recoveries.
“Instead of making sure that much-needed opioid treatment medications were used to help those who most need it, this company misused taxpayer funds to maximize its own profits,” Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement.
Suboxone is approved to help people struggling with opioid addiction avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms as they go through treatment. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids.
Indivior was accused of promoting the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians for prescriptions that lacked a legitimate medical purpose and were for unsafe and ineffective uses.
The companies also were accused of promoting the sale or use of Suboxone Sublingual Film based on false and misleading claims, and submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration that fraudulently took steps to delay the entry of generic competition for various forms of Suboxone.
In a federal criminal case, Indivior Solutions, a subsidiary of Indivior, pleaded guilty to one count of felony information and admitted to making false statements to promote Suboxone Film to the Massachusetts Medicaid program and was sentenced to pay $289 million in criminal fines, forfeiture, and restitution.
Indivior Inc. was formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. The state attorney general’s office participated in a $700 million civil settlement with Reckitt in 2019 over similar allegations involving Suboxone.