FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 24, 2019
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg announced today that South Dakota and other states have reached an agreement with Reckitt Benckiser Group (“Reckitt”) to settle allegations that the company improperly marketed and otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.
Reckitt, an English public limited company headquartered in Slough, England, will pay a total of $700,000,000.00 to resolve various civil fraud allegations impacting Medicaid and other government healthcare programs; of that amount over $400,000,000.00 will go to Medicaid programs. The settlement also resolves claims against Reckitt brought in six lawsuits pending in federal courts in the Western District of Virginia and the District of New Jersey.
The total portion of the settlement amount recovered by South Dakota is $77,786.50, of which $47,716.73 will be retained by the federal government as the federal Medicaid share. The remaining $30,069.77 will go to the State general fund to offset alleged Medicaid damages in this case.
Suboxone is a drug product approved for use by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids.
The civil settlement resolves allegations including that, from 2010 through 2014, Reckitt knowingly promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions to patients without any counseling or psychosocial support and for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary and that Reckitt submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on September 25, 2012, fraudulently claiming that it had discontinued manufacturing and selling Suboxone tablets “due to safety concerns.”
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (“NAMFCU”) Team participated in the investigation and in settlement negotiations. The South Dakota Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the South Dakota Department of Social Services assisted in recovering the settlement money.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court. The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state. Visit www.atg.sd.gov to learn more.
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CONTACT: Tim Bormann, Chief of Staff, (605) 773-3215