Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 35 other attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of brand-name Suboxone. It's a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction by easing addiction cravings.
The suit claims the companies tried to block generic competitors, leading to artificially high prices.
According to a news release, the lawsuit alleges that Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, conspired with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film that dissolves in the mouth in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives and maintain profits. The companies are accused of violating state and federal antitrust laws.
According to the lawsuit, Reckitt introduced Suboxone in 2002 in tablet form and had exclusivity protection that lasted seven years. It meant no generic version could enter the market during that time.
Before that period ended, the companies created a new version of Suboxone which dissolves in the mouth.
According to the release, Madigan and the other attorneys general allege that this conduct was illegal “product hopping,” where a company makes modest changes to its product to extend patent protections so other companies can’t enter the market and offer cheaper generic alternatives.
Joining Madigan in the lawsuit are attorneys general from: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Indivior issued a statement saying the company intends to continue to vigorously defend its position.