Federal prosecutors with the Department of Justice have indicted Indivior for what they call a multibillion-dollar scheme to ratchet up sales of an opioid addiction treatment.
The suit alleges that the U.K. pharma company deceived healthcare insurers and doctors into believing that its film version of Suboxone, a compound drug used to help wean addicts off opioids, was safer than Suboxone tablets. According to a suit, Indivior set up a program to direct patients online or on the phone to doctors known to prescribe the drug. The prosecutors have also accused Indivior of making false marketing claims that the film version was safer to have around children, and that it was less divertable and abusable than tablets.
Indivior has been charged with mail fraud, conspiracy, healthcare fraud and wire fraud, and the DOJ is gunning for a $3 billion fine.
News of the indictment sent shares for Indivior tumbling to an all-time low and reportedly wiped away about $720 million of the company’s market value.
Indivior has promised to fight the charges, saying that the DOJ is “fundamentally wrong” and that it has worked with the agency for years to make a settlement that it felt was “far beyond” what the facts of the case support.
Read the full Reuters report.