Indivior’s $385 Million Settlement in Suboxone Monopoly Lawsuit
Indivior PLC, a pharmaceutical company, has consented to a settlement of $385 million to resolve legal actions in the United States. These lawsuits, brought forth by drug wholesalers, accused Indivior of unlawfully impeding the entrance of generic competitors for its opioid addiction medication, Suboxone. This agreement, announced on October 23, 2023, is significant as it signifies the conclusion of prolonged legal disputes concerning the drug.
Shares of Indivior, traded on the London Stock Exchange, witnessed an increase of 5% following the announcement of this settlement. This development comes after a series of legal settlements by Indivior, including a $102.5 million payment in June to address similar allegations made by numerous U.S. states, and a $30 million settlement in August to resolve a comparable class-action lawsuit initiated by health plans.
The scheduled trial for October 30, pertaining to the wholesalers’ allegations, has been canceled in light of this settlement. The group of plaintiffs includes approximately 70 purchasers of Suboxone, encompassing various wholesalers and clinics.
Mark Crossley, the Chief Executive Officer of Indivior, remarked that this resolution, which addresses litigation initiated over ten years ago, provides enhanced certainty for the company’s stakeholders. Indivior, however, has not admitted any liability as part of the settlement agreement.
The legal representatives of the wholesalers had not responded to requests for comments at the time of reporting. The settlement still requires approval from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with Indivior anticipating the payment of the settlement amount in the following month.
Suboxone, which received approval for use in the United States in 2002, was initially marketed exclusively by Indivior in tablet form until 2009. The lawsuit, filed by health plans and drug wholesalers, alleged that Indivior transitioned to an oral film version of Suboxone to extend its market monopoly, coinciding with the impending entry of generic variants by other manufacturers. Furthermore, in 2020, Indivior agreed to a $600 million settlement to resolve allegations by the U.S. government of fraudulent promotion of Suboxone. This included claims that the company marketed the film version as being safer and less prone to abuse compared to similar medications.
The opioid crisis has had a profound impact in the United States, with over 900,000 individuals succumbing to drug overdoses since 1999, a significant portion of which involves opioids, as per data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.