Reckitt Benckiser Group plc Pays Historic $1.4B Billion Opioid Settlement
Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC and Reckitt Benckiser LLC (collectively “Reckitt”) announced that they have agreed to pay $1.4 billion to resolve allegations made by the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and in multiple whistleblower lawsuits that Reckitt defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other government funded healthcare programs in connection with its marketing practices for Suboxone tablet and Suboxone film, both of which are opioid dependence treatment regimens.
“Our client identified the serious issues implicated by the Suboxone marketing campaign very early on, and was the first to bring a whistleblower action to alert the Government,” stated Tavy Deming of Kenney McCafferty. Kenney McCaffertyrepresents whistleblower Dr. Stefan P. Kruszewski, a prominent psychiatrist in the Harrisburg area who specializes in addiction treatment. The $1.4 billion settlement resolves allegations brought by Dr. Kruszewski under the False Claim Act’s qui tam provisions. Dr. Kruszewski’s complaint remains under seal as of the settlement announcement pending the Government’s forthcoming intervention as per the terms of the Settlement Agreement announced by the Department of Justice today.
According to Dr. Kruszewski, “Due to my specialty in treating addiction, I became a target of Suboxone marketing.” Dr. Kruszewski became concerned when he witnessed Suboxone, which is itself an opioid based drug, being marketed as a nonaddictive drug that didn’t cause euphoria and was safe to prescribe for pain. “I knew I had to take action when local and national colleagues began to promote and prescribe Suboxone on the basis that Suboxone was a safe and nonaddictive miracle drug,” says Dr. Kruszewski.
“I have treated, and I continue to treat patients every day who suffer from Suboxone’s serious side effects. In my clinical experience, the withdrawal effects from Suboxone can be extreme. I do believe, however, that Suboxone tablet and film have a significant role to play in medication assisted addiction regimens so long as the drugs are marketed and prescribed responsibly.”
“Our client was the canary in the coal mine many years ago warning of the dangers associated with medication based treatment regimens for opioid abuse. Thanks to the exhaustive and tireless investigation into those allegations by federal and state prosecutors, most notably Assistant Director Edward Crooke of the Department of Justice Civil Fraud Section and California Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Paul, we believe the marketing of Suboxone is much safer today,” stated Brian Kenney.
ABOUT KENNEY McCAFFERTY Kenney & McCafferty, PC is the one of the most successful law firms specializing in representing qui tam whistleblowers nationwide. Kenney McCafferty has helped to recover billions of dollars back to the U.S Treasury in massive whistleblower-initiated cases filed against Olympus, GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, Amedisys, Johnson & Johnson, Omnicare, CareSource, Cephalon, and AstraZeneca, among others.