Reckitt Benckiser to pay $1.4bn to resolve US opioid probe     - EasternEye

Reckitt Benckiser to pay $1.4bn to resolve US opioid probe    

BRITISH consumer health business Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB) has agreed to pay £1.1 billion in a deal with the US officials over the sale and marketing of Suboxone in the US.

Suboxone is a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

A statement from RB on Thursday (11) said that it has reached agreements with the US department of justice and the federal trade commission to resolve the long-running investigation into the sales and marketing of Suboxone Film by its former prescription pharmaceuticals firm- Indivior.

Indivior is a business that was wholly demerged from the British multinational consumer goods conglomerate in 2014.

RB’s statement added: “Under the terms of the agreements, RB will pay a total of up to $1.4bn to fully resolve all federal investigations into RB in connection with the subject matter of the Indivior indictment and claims relating to state Medicaid programs for those states choosing to participate in the settlement. The resolution will also protect the Group’s participation in all US government programmes.”

The case pertains to the business- Indivior. The US officials claimed that Indivior had taken advantage of the opioid addiction crisis in the US by amplifying the safety of its drug, Suboxone.

A grand jury in the federal court in Abingdon said Indivior supplied Suboxone Film as a safe and controllable treatment for opioid addiction.

However, the indictment which started in 2010, observed that Indivior tried to raise its sales by exaggerating the safety of its drug.

The indictment added the company tried to connect the patients with the physicians who were known to over-prescribe it and other drugs to treat opioid by taking advantage of the country’s huge opioid crisis.

Indivior was also allegedly informed the healthcare providers and programmes that Suboxone Film,  contains the ‘opioid buprenorphine’ was safer and effective than similar drugs, when in fact it was not.

Commenting on the latest deal RB noted: “While RB has acted lawfully at all times and expressly denies all allegations that it engaged in any wrongful conduct, after careful consideration, the Board of RB determined that the agreement is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

“It avoids the costs, uncertainty and distraction associated with continued investigations, litigation and the potential for an indictment at a time of significant transformation under RB 2.0 and during CEO transition. This is a non-criminal resolution and is on the basis that there is no admission of any violation of law or any wrongdoing by RB or any RB Group employee.”

The settlement amount will be funded through existing borrowing facilities and cash generation.

RB has a provision of $400 million and will increase its provision to $1.5bn at its half-year results. The company also believes this will cover the settlement and any remaining litigation exposures.

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