COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A pharmaceutical company being sued for state and federal antitrust law violations has agreed on a settlement with 41 states and the District of Columbia, according to an Ohio Attorney General’s Office release.
Indivior Inc. was being sued for having schemed to block generic competitors from the market to sell their versions of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction by easing the cravings for opioids.
The case alleged that Indivior, a global pharmaceutical company that concentrates on treatment for substance use disorders and other mental illnesses, did so after the patented-protected period ended, thereby artificially elevating the drug’s cost to consumers.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office states that Indivior engaged in illegal “product hopping,” by making modest changes to its product in order to extend the patent protections so other companies couldn’t offer cheaper generic alternatives.
The company reportedly, “transitioned Suboxone from a tablet to a film (which dissolves in the mouth), and then actively attempted to destroy the market for tablets through marketing and price adjustments, the lawsuit maintains.”
This allowed Indivior to extend the patent protections, and the company eventually stopped selling tablets, forcing consumers to buy the more expensive film form of the drug, according to Yost.
The lawsuit says that Indivior violated the Sherman Act and Ohio’s Valentine Act by “engaging in anti-competitive activities designed to impede competition from generic equivalents of Suboxone.”
The settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, says that Indivior will pay 41 states, including Ohio, and the District of Columbia, a total sum of $102.5 million. Ohio will receive approximately $5.9 million.
In addition, the agreement states that Indivior must disclose to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration any citizen petition that it files, product modifications and change in corporate control.