$1.4 million won for Missouri in Medicaid fraud settlement

A federal lawsuit claims some big pharmaceutical companies played a part in the nation-wide...
A federal lawsuit claims some big pharmaceutical companies played a part in the nation-wide opioid epidemic
Published: Oct. 25, 2019 at 3:05 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - On Oct. 25, 2019, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, along with other state attorney general’s, announced a multi-state settlement with pharmaceutical distributor Reckitt Benckiser.

Reckitt Benckiser was improperly marketing and promoting the drug Suboxone. This resulted in improper spending of state Medicaid funds.

The settlement is $4,354,401.58 federal and state combined, with $1,458,823.01 going directly to Missouri State.

“The Missouri Attorney General’s Office’s robust Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is continually working, with its state and federal partners, to hold those who use the Medicaid system for unlawful personal gain or otherwise illegal purposes accountable for their actions,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “This multi-state settlement is a great result that should remind companies and providers that we will take swift and decisive action if you use the Medicaid system to defraud Missourians.”

Suboxone is a drug product approved for use by recovering opioid addicts. It is used to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment.

Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are strong and addictive opioids.

Reckitt Benckiser is an English public limited company headquartered in Slough, England, the United Kingdom.

Until Dec. 23, 2014, Reckitt Benckiser’s wholly owned subsidiary Indivior Inc. distributed, marketed, and sold Suboxone Sublingual Tablets and Suboxone Sublingual Film in the United States.

In Dec.2014, Reckitt Benckiser split off Indivior Inc.

This settlement is with Reckitt Benckiser, alone.

Reckitt has paid a total of $700,000,000.00 to resolve various civil fraud allegations including Medicaid and other government healthcare programs,

$400,000,000.00 will go to the Medicaid programs.

The civil settlement resolves cases from 2010 through 2014.

They state that Reckitt Benckiser, directly or through its subsidiaries, knowingly promoted the sale and use of Suboxone Sublingual Film to doctors who were writing prescriptions to patients without any counseling or psychosocial support.

Suboxone was prescribed unnecessary and it’s use was unsafe and ineffective.

Reckitt Benckiser promoted the sale or use of Suboxone Sublingual Film based on false and misleading claims.

They said Suboxone Sublingual Film was less addictive than other buprenorphine products.

They falsely claimed children were less likely to be exposed to Suboxone Sublingual Film than Suboxone Sublingual Tablets

Reckitt Benckiser falsely informed the Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 25, 2012, that it had stopped manufacturing and selling Suboxone Sublingual Tablets “due to safety concerns” about the tablet version of the drug.

Reckitt Benckiser took other steps to fraudulently delay any generics of Suboxone, in order to control pricing of the drug, including pricing to federal healthcare programs.

The civil settlement resolves the claims against Reckitt, including False Claims Act lawsuits pending in federal courts in the Western District of Virginia and the District of New Jersey.

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (“NAMFCU”) Team participated in the investigation and in settlement negotiations. The Team included representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General for the states of California, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved.