Agreement represents largest settlement ever secured against an opioid manufacturer
July 11, 2019 WASHINGTON–Today, the national law firm of Baron & Budd announced that a False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit it filed against London-based Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RBG) is part of a total $1.4 billion settlement, the largest settlement to date against an opioid manufacturer. Of the $1.4 billion, $700 million is a settlement of civil claims brought under the FCA.
Baron & Budd represented one of the six whistleblowers who filed cases against RBG and its subsidiaries. “I am very proud of the courage of our client who came forward with critical information of RBG’s conduct,” said Scott Simmer, head of the firm’s whistleblower practice. “She put her career on the line to do what’s right.”
The DOJ announced earlier today that it had reached a settlement with RBG to resolve allegations that a company former subsidiary improperly marketed the opioid addiction treatment drugs Suboxone tablets, Suboxone Film, and Subutex to physicians for prescriptions that were not for a medically accepted indication and for uses that were unsafe, ineffective and medically unnecessary; made false and misleading comparative safety claims that Suboxone Film was less susceptible to diversion and abuse that were relied on by physicians in prescribing the drug; and that RBG submitted a knowingly false petition to the FDA that it had discontinued promoting Suboxone tablets “due to safety concerns.”
“Today’s settlement represents a small step in the right direction towards holding opioid manufacturers responsible for their role in creating a public health crisis that continues to plague our country,” said Simmer. “During the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our country, it was critical that health care professionals and their patients have access to truthful information about drugs like Suboxone that could help save lives. Unfortunately, when drug companies engage in deceptive conduct to enrich themselves at the expense of the Government, this endangers the health and safety of thousands of desperate patients looking to break the stranglehold of addiction. This case should send a strong message that this conduct will not be tolerated.”
In addition to Simmer and the other counsel representing the whistleblowers, the United States team was led by Assistant Director Ed Crooke in the Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice; Craig Carpenito, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Charles Graybow, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Daniel P. Bubar, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia; and Sara Winn, Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia.
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Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, motor vehicles, employment, and other consumer fraud issues.