Alabama Joining Antitrust Lawsuit Over Drug Used to Treat Opioid Addiction

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Attorney General Luther Strange is joining 35 other Attorneys General in an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction.

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, is accused of conspiring with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives and maintain monopoly profits.

The Attorneys General allege that this was an illegal move called “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.

Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat heroin and other opioid addictions by easing addiction cravings. No generic alternative is currently available.

“The proliferation of opioid addictions is a tragedy in America and particularly in Alabama,” Strange says. “Antitrust laws exist to protect consumers from unscrupulous trade practices that stifle fair competition. This lawsuit seeks to stop Indivior from doing so, and to provide relief for consumers who were harmed.”

Alabama is particularly sensitive to the opioid epidemic. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention found that Alabama was among a handful of states with the highest number of opioid prescriptions per person.