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Ohio gets cut of $102 million antitrust settlement with drug company treating opioid addiction

Opioid Pills

Ohio will receive a cut of a multi-state $102.5 million antitrust settlement with the maker of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced Friday.

Ohio is getting about $5.9 million in the settlement with Indivior Inc. Some of the funds will go toward attorney fees and to the Attorney General’s Office, while the rest of the money has not yet been specifically allotted.

The federal lawsuit was filed in a Pennsylvania court and led by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and included 41 states and the District of Columbia. The suit accused the specialty drug maker of “product hopping,” or making small changes to its product, Suboxone, to extend the patent, keeping other companies from offering cheaper alternatives.

Suboxone treats opioid addiction by easing cravings.

The lawsuit alleges Indivior changed the drug from a tablet to a film that dissolves in the mouth, then used price adjustments to destroy the market for the tablets. Eventually, it stopped selling the tablets altogether, leaving customers to buy the more expensive film.

The suit claims violations of the federal Sherman Act and Ohio’s Valentine Act, which prohibits conspiracy against free trade.

In a statement, Indivior Chief Executive Officer Mark Crossley said resolving the matter allows the company to continue its mission of helping those who suffer from substance use disorders.

"We take our role as a responsible steward of medications for addiction and rescue extremely seriously," Crossley said.

In addition to the payout, the settlement requires Indivior to disclose citizen petitions, product modifications, and changes in corporate control to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and to state attorneys general.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office said the conditions are to keep states appraised of the company’s activities and prevent similar conduct in the future.

Indivior would have gone to trial in September if a settlement was not reached.

Allie Vugrincic has been a radio reporter at WOSU 89.7 NPR News since March 2023.