Attorney General Bill Sorrell joined 35 other state attorneys general Thursday in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Pennsylvania against two drug companies.
The lawsuit names Indivior — the maker of Suboxone, a brand name prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction — and MonoSol Rx.
The attorneys general alleged that the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competition for Suboxone and have caused purchasers to pay artificially high prices since 2009, in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.
“When a brand drug company illegally blocks generic competitors from entering the market, it violates both state and federal law,” Sorrell said.
Indivior, is accused of conspiring with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives and maintain monopoly profits. No generic alternative for the film is currently available.
The attorneys general allege that this conduct was illegal “product hopping”—where a brand manufacturer makes modest changes to its product to extend its patent protections so that generic competitors cannot enter the market and offer cheaper alternatives.
According to the suit, the Suboxone film provided no real benefit over the tablet.