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Rhode Island receives $5.4 million Medicaid settlement from pharmaceutical distributor Reckitt Benckiser Group

The settlement stems from allegations of improper marketing and sale of Suboxone

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that on October 23, 2019, the State of Rhode Island reached an agreement with the pharmaceutical distributor Reckitt Benckiser Group to settle allegations that the company, either directly or through a subsidiary, improperly marketed and otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.

Rhode Island will receive $5.4 million in settlement funds, $2.9 million of which will be returned to the State's Medicaid administrator, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and $2.4 million will be returned to the Federal Government. Rhode Island's share of the settlement is part of a larger $700 million settlement that Reckitt has paid to resolve various civil fraud allegations impacting Medicaid and other government healthcare programs.

Specifically, it is alleged that from 2010 through 2014, Reckitt, directly or through its subsidiaries, knowingly:

Promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions: o To patients without any counseling or psychosocial support, such that the prescriptions were not for a medically accepted indication o For uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary and that were often diverted for uses that lacked a legitimate medical purpose

Promoted the sale or use of Suboxone Sublingual Film based on false and misleading claims that Suboxone Sublingual Film was less subject to diversion and abuse than other buprenorphine products and that Suboxone Sublingual Film was less susceptible to accidental pediatric exposure than Suboxone Sublingual Tablets

Submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on September 25, 2012 fraudulently claiming that it had discontinued manufacturing and selling Suboxone Sublingual Tablet "due to safety concerns" about the tablet formulation of the drug

Took other steps to fraudulently delay the entry of generic competition for various forms of Suboxone in order to improperly control pricing of Suboxone, including pricing to federal healthcare programs

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units ("NAMFCU") Team, of which Rhode Island is a part, participated in the investigation and in settlement negotiations. To learn more about the Medical Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit at the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General, visit http://www.riag.ri.gov/CriminalUnit/MedicaidFraudPatientAbuseUnit.php.

About Suboxone Suboxone is a drug product approved for use by those recovering from opioid addiction to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids.

About Reckitt Benckiser Group Reckitt is an English public limited company headquartered in Slough, England, the United Kingdom. Until December 23, 2014, Reckitt's wholly owned subsidiary Indivior Inc. (then known as Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) distributed, marketed, and sold Suboxone Sublingual Tablets and Suboxone Sublingual Film in the United States. In December 2014, Reckitt spun off Indivior Inc. The settlement described in this statement is with Reckitt, alone.

Reckitt has paid a total of $700 million to resolve various civil fraud allegations impacting Medicaid and other government healthcare programs, of which over $400 million will go to the Medicaid programs. To resolve its potential criminal liability stemming from conduct alleged in the indictment of Indivior, Inc., Reckitt has entered into a separate non-prosecution agreement.

The civil settlement resolves the claims against Reckitt brought in six qui tam lawsuits pending in federal courts in the Western District of Virginia and the District of New Jersey.


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