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US authorities seek $3bn penalty in criminal charges against UK opioid maker

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1777 (Published 11 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1777
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The US justice department has brought a felony indictment against the UK drug maker Indivior, alleging that it misrepresented the safety of its sublingual Suboxone Film, an opioid replacement therapy designed to treat addiction.

Indivior developed Suboxone Film in 2007 to replace the Suboxone tablet whose patent was expiring, and it marketed the film as safer to keep around children and harder to misuse or divert—when there was no evidence to support that claim and good reason to suspect the opposite, the indictment alleges.1 Suboxone contains the opioid buprenorphine and the opioid blocker naloxone.

“Clinically unwarranted”

The indictment also alleges that Indivior sought to boost profits with a “Here to Help” scheme, “which Indivior used to connect patients to doctors Indivior knew were prescribing Suboxone …

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