The Rabon Law Firm of Charlotte, NC, and the Leader Law Firm of Tucson, AZ, announced today that London-based conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB Group) (LSE:RB)(OTC:RBGPF) has agreed to pay $1.4 billion to resolve liabilities to the United States and other government funded health care programs, including Medicare, TRICARE, and state Medicaid programs. RB Group also executed a non-prosecution agreement simultaneously with resolving its civil liabilities. Those liabilities arise from investigations spawned by several federal False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits brought against RB Group, and its formerly wholly-owned subsidiary, Invidior, Inc., in connection its blockbuster opioid addition treatment drug, Suboxone. Indivior was spun off from RB Group in late 2014, and is an independent company.
The core claims resolved by RB Group’s payment in this historic settlement largely concern improper and unlawful marketing of Suboxone by RB Group, directly or through its subsidiaries. The fraudulent conduct alleged included the promotion of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions without any counseling or psychosocial support, such that the prescriptions were not for a medically accepted indication, and promotion of the drug for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary and that were often diverted for uses that lacked a legitimate medical purpose. The United States also alleged that RB Group, directly or through its subsidiaries, knowingly submitted false information to the federal Food and Drug Administration in September 2012 in connection with the film version of Suboxone.
The Rabon Law Firm and the Leader Law Firm filed one of the six federal cases intervened by the US Government and State Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and covered by the settlement, which the US Department of Justice described as “the largest recovery by the United States in a case concerning an opioid drug.” While the settlement resolved most of the liabilities of RB Group in connection with the filed FCA cases, the liabilities of Indivior have not been resolved. Indivior was indicted by a federal grand jury on criminal charges related to the marketing of Suboxone in April 2019, and its criminal trial is scheduled to begin in May 2020.
“Cases such as these are helping turn the tide of the opioid epidemic, and bringing these cases can change corporate behavior and save lives” said Chet Rabon. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 400,000 people in the United States died from an overdose involving opioid drugs between 1999 and 2017. Presently, this amounts to a staggering 130 opioid overdose deaths per day in the US, which is nearly 50,000 unnecessary deaths per year.
“Pharma companies have massively profited from the sales of opioid drugs. The profits are so tempting that sales have skyrocketed off the charts, often through off label marketing and other illegal marketing schemes,” added John Leader. Those illegal schemes – which not only harm or can kill individuals, but also steal money from the taxpayer – can be stopped by the actions of even just one single person bringing a federal lawsuit under the False Claims Act. The Act also provides protections against retaliation.
As here, the Federal False Claims Act has proven an effective means for brave private citizens with knowledge that companies are cheating the Government, and who are willing to take action to stop that fraud. The False Claims Act is, far and away, the most effective and efficient tool in rooting out fraud against the Federal Government. Citizens who bring False Claims Act cases are rewarded between 15% to 30% of the money recovered for their efforts. Of the more than $60 billion recovered under the False Claims Act since 1987 to date, more than 72% of the funds recovered back to the Government came as a result of whistleblower initiated lawsuits. For more information, see Taxpayers Against Fraud.
About the Rabon Law Firm, PLLC
The Rabon Law Firm is headed by attorney Chet Rabon, who has practiced law in Charlotte, NC, for nearly 30 years. The Rabon Law Firm concentrates in whistleblower representation under the Federal False Claims Act and companion state acts, as well as IRS and SEC Whistleblower fraud cases, and has numerous such cases currently under investigation and in litigation throughout the United States. The Rabon Law Firm has been lead or co-counsel in FCA cases that have recovered nearly $1 billion dollars to the federal and state governments.
About the Leader Law Firm
John Leader, founder of the Leader Law Firm in Tucson, AZ, has practiced law since 1989. Leader is a former Assistant United States Attorney. In additional to handling cases under the False Claims Act, John handles wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases in the western United States, and has achieved numerous multi-million dollar jury verdicts, including a recent verdict of $40 million.
SOURCE: The Rabon Law Firm, PLLC
Chet Rabon, 704-247-3247