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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    The following is a report from Consumer Affairs released today:

    In another case revolving around drug pricing, 36 states have joined a lawsuit against Indivior, the manufacturer of the branded drug Suboxone. Suboxone is a prime treatment for patients addicted to heroin and other drugs, including painkillers.

    Included as a defendant is MonoSolRX , the company that licensed its sublingual film technology to Indivior. Among the charges in the complaint, the states say Indivior tried to force patients to stop using a tablet and begin using a dissolvable oral strip version of Suboxone. It also alleges other anti-competitive behavior.

    “My office will not permit drug companies to engage in anticompetitive conduct that unlawfully extends their monopolies – and their monopoly profits – on drugs,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Opioid abuse is a public health crisis, and opioid-dependent patients should have access to the most affordable addiction treatment options available.”

    Orphan drug monopoly

    Suboxone tablets have been an approved form of treatment since 2002. The tablet form of the drug lacked patent protection, but the FDA gave Indivior a seven-year “orphan drug” monopoly on Suboxone sales because the company was not expected to recoup its research and development costs.

    However, Schneiderman says the drug generated $2 billion in U.S. sales for Indivior by 2010. The complaint claims that when Individor's exclusivity was set to expire seven years ago, it tried to prevent lower cost generic competition by initiating anti-competitive activities.

    “The defendants in this case have preyed on a vulnerable population – men and women trying overcome the scourge of opioid addiction,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “Free and fair competition is necessary to keep drug prices affordable and to keep much-needed prescription drugs accessible to those who rely on them for treatment.”

    The suit seeks unspecified damages based on the amount of estimated profits the company earned on its alleged anti-competitive activity.

    Addiction costs

    Opioid addiction is a growing problem in the U.S., increasing the demand for the opioid treatment drug. A new report by researchers at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the cost of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence in the U.S. is an estimated $78.5 billion a year.

    "More than 40 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The rising cost of the epidemic is also a tremendous burden for the health care system."

    The study shows that health care costs make up about one-third of costs linked to the prescription opioid epidemic, and about a quarter of the costs are borne by state and federal governments.

    Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004. He covers real estate, gas prices and the economy and has reported extensively on negative-option sales. He was previously an Associated Press reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for Westwoood One Radio Networks and Marketwatch.

    By Mark Huffman - Consumer Affairs/Sept. 23, 2016
    Photo: Subutex
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Indivior Says Lawsuit has No Merit

    SAN FRANCISCO-- One of the companies alleged to have conspired to keep generic versions of a popular opioid treatment off the market said that an antitrust lawsuit filed Thursday has no merit.

    Attorneys general for 35 states and the District of Columbia filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that British drugmaker Indivior and New Jersey's MonoSol Rx conspired to corner the market on Suboxone.

    The drug is used to treat people hooked on heroin and other painkillers.

    MonoSol Rx chief executive Keith Kendall said in a statement Friday that the company learned of the complaint Thursday night. "We believe that the allegations in the complaint are wholly without merit and the suit is both factually and legally deficient," he said.

    The complaint alleges the two companies conspired to make an oral strip form of the drug that they then marketed as safer than tablets, squashing competition.

    The attorneys general say the conduct is illegal "product hopping," where a company makes small changes to a product to keep cheaper alternatives off the market, Pennsylvania's Attorney General Bruce R. Beemer said in a press release Thursday.

    Indivior has not responded to requests for comment.

    AP/Sept. 23, 2016
    Newshawk Crew
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