After CEO pleads guilty, Indivior inks $600M deal to escape opioid marketing accusations

The federal government's yearslong probe into sales of opioid addiction therapy Suboxone Film has turned out some eye-popping plea deals in recent months. Now, weeks after its former CEO pleaded guilty to federal charges, Suboxone maker Indivior has inked a hefty settlement of its own to stay out of court.

Indivior will shell out $600 million to federal and state authorities over the next seven years after pleading guilty to misleading the Massachusetts Medicaid program about Suboxone's danger to children to secure formulary coverage, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a release Friday.

The drugmaker will pay $289 million to settle federal and state criminal claims, including closing an indictment from a West Virginia federal grand jury in April 2019. In addition, Indivior will dole out $300 million to close civil claims it violated the False Claims Act in its Suboxone marketing. The company will pay out the settlement in annual installments beginning the week the plea deal is finalized, Indivior said. 

As part of its deal, Indivior Solutions, the company's opioid subsidiary, will be barred from participating in government healthcare programs. Indivior said that ban would only apply to its subsidiary and would have no "material effect" on the drugmaker's business with U.S. government payers. 

In a release (PDF), Indivior CEO Mark Crossley said the drugmaker was "pleased" with the settlement and was looking to move past prior allegations. 

"The incident to which the agreement relates occurred well in the past and does not reflect the values Indivior has strived to demonstrate and uphold during our long history of partnering with healthcare providers, policymakers, and communities to fight the opioid crisis," he said.

Indivior, a former subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser, not only misled the state of Massachusetts of Suboxone's addictive dangers but also pumped sales to doctors who prescribed the drug for off-label use, the DOJ said in a release. Reckitt previously agreed to shell out a whopping $1.4 billion to settle its own Suboxone marketing allegations..

RELATED: Former Indivior CEO pleads guilty in federal Suboxone probe a day after stepping down from post