Coverage: Reckitt Benckiser to pay $1.4 bln to settle U.S. opioid probe
Reckitt Benckiser has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in settlement for several U.S. investigations into an opioid addiction treatment.
Noor Zainab Hussain and Pushkala Aripaka had the news for Reuters:
Britain’s Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) has agreed to pay up to $1.4 billion to resolve all U.S. federal investigations into the sales and marketing of an opioid addiction treatment by its former prescription pharmaceuticals business Indivior (INDV.L).
While the settlement is significantly higher than the $400 million that the consumer goods group had set aside to cover the cost of the investigations, analysts said it lifted a cloud that has been hanging over the company for years.
Reckitt shares rose 2% in early Thursday trading.
The maker of Strepsils throat sweets, Mucinex cold medicine and Lysol cleaners, said it had reached agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to resolve the investigation into a business that was wholly demerged from the company in 2014.
The Financial Times’ Leila Abboud and Hannah Kuchler noted this is the largest settlement deal to date in the painkiller epidemic in the U.S.
The decision to settle comes just three months after a federal grand jury in Virginia indicted Indivior and sought from it at least $3bn in fines over allegations that it sought to drive up sales of Suboxone, its best-selling drug, with a fraudulent marketing scheme.
Reckitt’s settlement is the single biggest so far in a crisis that has claimed the lives of 200,000 Americans and left some 2m suffering from opioid use disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It covers alleged misconduct stretching from 2006 to 2015. Despite the settlement, Reckitt denies acting illegally.
“While RB acted lawfully at all times and expressly denies all allegations that it has engaged in any wrongful conduct, after careful consideration, the board of RB determined that the agreement is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” it said in a statement.
Adria Calatayud had the background for MarketWatch:
Indivior was wholly demerged from the group in 2014, Reckitt said. Indivior was charged with organizing a multibillion-dollar fraud to drive up sales of Suboxone Film by U.S. federal prosecutors earlier this year. Indivior has denied the charges.
Reckitt, the owner of Durex condoms and Dettol cleaning product, said it has acted lawfully at all times and denied all allegations that it engaged in any wrongful conduct. The settlement is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, it said.