Suboxone Case to be Appealed After Dismissal

Healthcare providers appealed their lawsuit against Indivior Inc., which is also known as Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc., from the Pennsylvania Eastern District to the Third Circuit in a notice filed on Friday. The appeal contests a July 22 order dismissing their complaints which alleged that the defendants were corrupt. 

According to the memorandum opinion, the marketing and distribution of Suboxone, a drug to treat addiction, breached multiple laws including the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and state laws regarding fraud, antitrust, insurance, unjust enrichment, and unfair trade practices.  The complaint was filed by Humana Inc., The Centene Company, WellCare Health Plans, New York Quality Healthcare Corporation, and Health Net LLC. 

Suboxone is designed to treat opiod-use disorder and was introduced in 2002. The opinion noted that it has had an annual sales of over $1 billion, and that the company attempted to protect its patents and stop the ability of companies to produce a generic version in 2009. 

The plaintiffs alleged that Indivior developed a scheme where it would develop and introduce “a fraudulent new product” so that it could continue to charge “artificially high” prices for Suboxone and harm competition. 

The court found that the plaintiffs did not have standing for their claims as healthcare companies under the indirect purchaser rule, determining that each of the claims in the complaint failed. 

The defendants had previously alleged that the state-law claims should be dismissed because of a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The judge agreed and “declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction” over some of the state law claims, and dismissed all of the claims against each of the defendants. 

Centene Corporation and Humana Inc. are represented by Crowell & Moring LLP. The defendants are represented by Jones Day, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, and Conrad O’Brien