$1.4 Billion Settlement – Representing a Whistleblower in the Largest Opioid Case Recovery in U.S. History

We’re proud to announce that we represented one of the whistleblowers in the government’s historic $1.4 billion recovery against Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC.

The case, which included multiple filings over several years, involved the marketing of Reckitt’s opioid addiction treatment drug Suboxone – which is used by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment.

According to the government’s announcement, Reckitt knowingly: (a) promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions without any counseling or psychosocial support and for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary and that were often diverted for uses that lacked a legitimate medical purpose; (b) promoted the sale or use of Suboxone Film to physicians and state Medicaid agencies using false and misleading claims that Suboxone Film was less susceptible to diversion and abuse than other buprenorphine products and that Suboxone Film was less susceptible to accidental pediatric exposure than tablets; and (c) submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 25, 2012, claiming that Suboxone Tablet had been discontinued “due to safety concerns” about the tablet formulation of the drug and took other steps to delay the entry of generic competition for Suboxone in order to improperly control pricing of Suboxone, including pricing to federal healthcare programs.

The resolution is the largest recovery by the United States in a case concerning an opioid drug. It includes the forfeiture of proceeds totaling $647 million, civil settlements with the federal government and the states totaling $700 million, and an administrative resolution with the Federal Trade Commission for $50 million.

After years of litigation and coordination among numerous federal and state agencies, Reckitt agreed to pay what is now the largest opioid-related payment in US history. This historic recovery could not have been possible without our client, who risked his livelihood and professional career to bring this wrongdoing to light.

In addition to our client, we are grateful to have coordinated our efforts with our cocounsel, the many incredible lawyers representing the other whistleblowers who (like our own client) put a lot at risk in order to sound the alarm on this conduct. Finally, we are privileged to have worked alongside the fine attorneys at the Department of Justice and various state agencies. We are hopeful that the settlement reached here will go a long way in improving patient safety and preventing possible future harm.

The announcement of the settlement by the U.S. Department of Justice can be viewed here.

A copy of the Settlement Agreement can be downloaded by clicking here.