Attorney General Ellison reaches settlement with maker of medicine that treats opioid addiction

A national bipartisan coalition of 42 attorney generals, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, have reached a settlement with the maker of an opioid addiction treatment medication, according to a press release from Ellison’s office.

Indivior was ordered to pay $102.5 million for allegedly delaying the generic version of the drug Suboxone from being released. Of that, Minnesota will get around $1.7 million.

Indivior brought the medication Suboxone, which helps treat opioid addiction and dependence, to the market in tablet form in 2002, the release from Ellison said. At that time, Indivior had the sole right to sell it and made large profits from the sales.

Ellison and the coalition allege that Indivior put off the launch of cheaper, generic versions of Suboxone from being sold in order to make more profit. Furthermore, the coalition alleges that Indivior created a dissolving-film version of Suboxone in order to create an additional period of exclusivity. The coalition added that this move used illegal tactics to move demand from Suboxone tablets to the dissolving film.

Minnesota and the coalition filed a lawsuit against Indivior in 2016. A trial had been set for September 2023.

“In the midst of the opioid crisis that has ravaged every corner of Minnesota, Indivior used illegal tactics to maintain the monopoly on the drug they invented to fight opioid addiction and make sure the price stayed high. Put another way, they put their own profits over Minnesotans’ lives,” Ellison said. “I’m proud to join attorneys general of both parties from around the country in holding this company accountable and creating protections that will prevent them from doing this again. We’ve known for a long time that deliberate anticompetitive behavior is a major driver of high drug prices, including on drugs people rely on to stay alive. We sued Indivior many years ago to hold them accountable for their illegal behavior and were ready to take them to trial. Our lawsuit and settlement should be a warning to every drug company even thinking about engaging in illegal anticompetitive conduct that we will not sit by and let you get away with it.”

Joining Ellison in the settlement are Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, who led settlement negotiations, and the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.