Attorney General Todd Rokita announced Monday that Indiana has entered into a $4.3 million settlement resolving allegations that pharmaceutical distributor Indivior improperly marketed and sold the drug Suboxone, a drug approved for use by recovering opioid addicts.
The company’s fraudulent statements and aggressive marketing tactics resulted in improper expenditures of Medicaid funds, according to allegations leveled in six whistleblower lawsuits.
“Indivior’s actions potentially harmed vulnerable Hoosiers and helped sustain drug addiction in this country at the very time they claimed to be helping eradicate it,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Even worse, they used ill-gotten Medicaid funds in the process — diverting resources from a program intended to help provide legitimate medical care to lower-income patients who truly need it.”
Suboxone is approved for use by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment. However, Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids subject to abuse.
Indiana and other states contended that, from 2010 through 2015, Indivior engaged in three types of fraudulent activity:
- promoted Suboxone to physicians writing prescriptions that were not for medically accepted purposes;
- made false claims that a newer form of Suboxone that dissolves under the tongue was less subject to diversion and abuse than other buprenorphine products; and
- submitted false claims to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in order to fraudulently delay the entry of generic competition into the market and improperly control pricing of Suboxone, including pricing to the states’ Medicaid programs.
All told, Indivior will pay a total of $300 million to resolve various civil fraud allegations impacting Medicaid and other government healthcare programs, of which $203.7 million will go to Medicaid. In 2020, Indivior and several of its officers were convicted of crimes related to the marketing of Suboxone.
This settlement brings the total amount of money recovered by the Office of the Attorney General this year across all divisions to more than $181.5 million.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units Team participated in settlement negotiations. The team included representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General for Indiana and five other states. Attorney General Rokita thanked Deputy Attorney General Lawrence J. Carcare II for his work on the NAMFCU Team in its investigation and settlement of this matter.
The Indiana Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a federal grant. The remaining 25 percent is funded by the State of Indiana.