Chesterfield drug firm sentenced to pay $600M over opioid treatment
A Chesterfield County-based pharmaceutical firm has been sentenced to pay $289 million in criminal penalties in connection with a previous guilty plea surrounding the company’s marketing of the opioid-addiction-treatment drug Suboxone.
U.S. District Judge James P. Jones of the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon entered the sentence against Indivior Solutions, a subsidiary of Indivior plc, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The company had agreed to a plea deal in July under which it will pay $600 million to resolve civil and criminal liabilities charging that the company made false statements about Suboxone Film, a version of the drug Suboxone
used in opioid addiction treatment. Of the $600 million fine, the company was sentenced to pay $289 million in criminal penalties.
As part of a one-count guilty plea in July, Indivior Solutions admitted to making false statements to the Massachusetts Medicaid program — or MassHealth — about the relative safety of the drug around children.
Suboxone contains the opioid buprenorphine, a drug approved for use by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment for opioiduse disorder.
A federal grand jury in western
Virginia indicted Indivior in April 2019 on charges that alleged the company used fraudulent marketing practices to boost profits from Suboxone Film, although the company denied wrongdoing.
The penalty against the company comes about five months after its former chief executive officer, Shaun Thaxter, pleaded guilty to a one-count misdemeanor charge for what federal prosecutors called Indivior’s “false and misleading representations” to MassHealth.
Thaxter was sentenced in October to six months in prison and $600,000 in criminal fines and forfeiture. His lawyer said Thaxter was “unaware of the alleged misstatements when they were made.”
Indivior was spun off in December 2014 from United Kingdom-based Reckitt Benckiser
Group Plc. Reckitt Benckiser agreed in July 2019 to pay $1.4 billion to resolve potential criminal and civil liabilities.
More than $2 billion has been recovered from the investigation and prosecution of Indivior Solutions, its parent company, two former Indivior executives, including its former CEO, as well as a resolution with Reckitt Benckiser Group, the Justice Department said.
In September, Indivior, which has its corporate headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike, announced it was cutting an unspecified number of jobs and reducing spending by as much as $70 million as the company shifts emphasis away from Suboxone. Thaxter was replaced in July by a new CEO, Mark Crossley.