British pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser Group agreed to pay U.S. authorities up to $1.4 billion to settle a long-running probe by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into the marketing and sales of its opioid-based narcotics addiction treatment Suboxone Film from 2006 to 2015, according to Law360.
The decision comes just months after the company’s 2014 spinoff company Indivior Inc., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia for orchestrating a “nationwide scheme” to generate billions in profits by falsely promoting Suboxone Film as a less addictive form of the tablet version of the drug.
According to the indictment, the company’s reformulating of Suboxone into an under-the-tongue film was merely a ploy to keep a hold on its legal monopoly. In that indictment, Reckitt was hit with 28 felony counts and a $3 billion cash penalty – three times its global revenue in 2018.
Reckitt denied the allegations of wrongful conduct, adding in a statement that it agreed to the settlement because the board determined it was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.
The $1.4 billion penalty is much higher than the $400 million the company had set aside for the matter, and is the largest payout by a drug company in the United States’ fight to curb the opioid epidemic, which has killed tens of thousands of Americans and resulted in millions of dollars in economic damages. The company said it will increase its provision to $1.5 billion to cover the settlement and any remaining litigation.
Beasley Allen has an Opioid Litigation Team, which includes these lawyers: Rhon Jones, Parker Miller, Ryan Kral, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton and Jeff Price. This team represents the State of Alabama, the State of Georgia, and numerous local governments, as well as other entities in opioid multdistrict litigation (MDL). They also handle individual claims on behalf of victims.