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Settlement reached involving opioid withdrawal drug

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Published: May. 3, 2021 at 12:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The West Virginia Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, has announced he has reached a multi-state settlement to resolve allegations that a pharmaceutical company falsely and aggressively marketed and promoted Suboxone, leading to improper use of state Medicaid funds.

The attorney general’s office says the company, Indivior, will provide West Virginia more than $5.2 million. The state will keep over $1.36 million. The balance will reimburse federal Medicaid program.

“Marketing a product using false claims — particularly claims regarding safety of a drug — can have dangerous outcomes,” Attorney General 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.”

This settlement resolves allegations from 2010 to 2015. That’s when officials say Indivior promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians that prescribed the drug without 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.

There were also allegations of Indivior submitting a petition to federal regulators in September 2012 fraudulently claimed Suboxone tablets had been discontinued in order to delay generic competitors from entering the market. These allegations have also been resolved.

Over two-thirds of Indivior’s $300 million payout will go to the Medicaid programs.

According to the attorney general, the West Virginia Bureau of Medicaid Services will receive approximately $583,384 of the state’s share.

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

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