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W.Va. AG announces settlement over false claims

CHARLESTON — A settlement with a company to resolve allegations it falsely and aggressively marketed and promoted Suboxone, leading to improper use of state Medicaid funds, has been reached, the Attorney General of West Virginia sai.

Indivior Inc. will provide West Virginia more than $5.2 million, of which the state will keep more than $1.36 million and the balance will reimburse federal Medicaid programs, a matter consistent with previous Medicaid settlements, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said.

“Marketing a product using false claims, particularly claims regarding safety of a drug, can have dangerous outcomes,” Morrisey said. “This type of fraud also takes Medicaid resources away from those who need them most. We must never cease in our efforts to root out fraud, waste and abuse.”

The settlement resolves allegations that from 2010 to 2015 Indivior promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who prescribed the drug without legitimate medical purpose and knowingly promoted the sale or use of Suboxone film based on false or misleading claims that it was less susceptible to diversion than Suboxone tablets, Morrisey said. The agreement also resolves allegations Indivior petitioned federal regulators in September 2012 fraudulently claiming the Suboxone tablet had been discontinued in an attempt to delay generic competitors entering the market.

Nationally, more than two-thirds of Indivior’s $300 million payout will go to the Medicaid programs. The West Virginia Bureau of Medicaid Services will receive approximately $583,384 of the state’s share.

The settlement is West Virginia’s second to resolve Medicaid fraud allegations related to the sale and marketing of Suboxone. The first, announced in late 2019, was valued at $700 million nationally and resolved allegations against the maker of Suboxone, Reckitt Benckiser Group.

Indivior, formerly a part of Reckitt Benckiser Group, split from Reckitt Benckiser prior to the 2019 settlement.

The West Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which became part of the Attorney General’s Office in 2019, receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant of $1,741,964. The remaining 25 percent, $580,654, is funded by the state.

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