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Delaware joins antitrust lawsuit against maker of Suboxone

Suboxone_SL_Tabs.jpg
By Jr de Barbosa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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Suboxone dissolvable filmstrips

 

Delaware's attorney general joined 35 other state attorneys general this week to file an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of the opioid addiction medication Suboxone.

The maker of Suboxone is Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior. It had an exclusive right to sell Suboxone pills without competition for seven years, starting in 2002. But before that exclusive right expired, Reckitt worked with MonoSol Rx to create a dissolvable filmstrip version of the drug.

“And through their power over the marketplace, they caused the people who prescribe the medication to begin prescribing this new film strip, even though it doesn’t provide any additional medical benefits,” Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn said.   

The antitrust lawsuit said this kept competing drug makers out of the market since 2009, which is when the seven-year exclusive right to sell the pill form of the medication would have expired. 

 

The attorneys general claim this practice of "product hopping" violates antitrust laws because it has allowed the two companies to exist free of competition for more than a decade and set prices artificially high.    

Taxpayers and people with insurance are left paying the high price for Suboxone, according to Denn. That's because most recovering drug addicts who are prescribed Suboxone receive it through a government-funded recovery program or through private health insurance.

In recent years Suboxone sales have outperformed both Adderall and Viagra. It brought in in more than $1 billion last year.

Indivior did not reply to a request for comment, but it said in a statement that it plans “to vigorously defend its position.” 

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