October 4, 2019
LANSING – Roughly $2.6 million is headed to Michigan as part of a multi-million-dollar settlement agreement Michigan and 32 other states reached with opioid addiction treatment drug manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Group (Reckitt) in July, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today. The settlement resolves allegations that Reckitt improperly marketed and promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.
Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine (an opioid) and naloxone (blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief and feelings of euphoria that can lead to opioid abuse). The drug was approved to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms as part of a complete withdrawal treatment plan that would include counseling and psychosocial support.
The settlement resolved allegations that Reckitt directly or, through its subsidiaries, knowingly:
“The opioid crisis has ravaged Michigan communities across our state, and instead of helping combat it with life-saving medication, Reckitt appears to have exploited the crisis in an effort to bolster its bottom line,” Nessel said. “To any company that seeks to exploit a crisis for personal gain, know this: Putting profits over people will not stand in our state.”
Nessel said most of Michigan’s settlement proceeds will be used to reimburse the state’s Medicaid programs.
The investigation resulted from a number of Medicare and Medicaid fraud actions, three of which were originally filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
The Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Division is a member of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU). A NAMFCU Team participated in the investigation and in the settlement negotiations that led to this settlement.