Manufacturer of opioid addiction treatment drug Suboxone to pay $102.5 million in antitrust settlement

The company behind the opioid addiction treatment drug Suboxone has agreed to pay $102.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 41 states and the District of Columbia. The lawsuit accused Indivior of violating antitrust laws by blocking generic versions of the drug from hitting the market.

By reaching this agreement, Indivior avoids a scheduled trial later this year. The case is different from other lawsuits targeting opioid makers, which claim their actions contributed to the national overdose crisis. Those cases have resulted in settlements exceeding $50 billion so far.

Suboxone, a branded version of buprenorphine and naloxone, is used in the treatment of opioid addiction. Developed by Indivior, formerly a subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Suboxone had patent protection from 2002 to 2009, providing the company with exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the drug. However, nearing the expiration of the patent protection, Indivior made minor modifications to Suboxone to extend the patent protection period, effectively limiting the availability of more affordable generic alternatives.

Under the settlement, Indivior is required to notify the states of any future modifications to its products or changes in corporate control.

Attorneys general involved in the settlement represent Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

This settlement follows a separate $300 million agreement reached in April 2021, in which Indivior resolved allegations of false and aggressive marketing of Suboxone, resulting in an improper use of state Medicaid funds.