Shares in London-listed drug manufacturer Indivior have plunged 70% following indictment by the US Department of Justice.
A federal grand jury in Virginia accused Indivior of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and health care fraud, as well as one count of health care fraud, four counts of mail fraud, and twenty-two counts of wire fraud. The Department of Justice released a statement explaining the allegations.
“Opioid addiction is a national epidemic. The indictment alleges that, rather than marketing its opioid-addiction drug responsibly, Indivior promoted it with a disregard for the truth about its safety and despite known risks of diversion and abuse,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt. “The Department of Justice is committed to holding opioid manufacturers accountable for such unlawful conduct.”
The statement added: “The indictment further alleges that Indivior used its “Here to Help” internet and telephone program as part of its scheme to induce physicians to write prescriptions for Suboxone Film. Touted as a resource for opioid-addicted patients, Indivior used the program in part to connect patients to doctors it knew were prescribing Suboxone and other opioids to more patients than allowed by federal law, at high doses, and in suspect circumstances.”
Indivior has vigorously contested the charges, releasing an 8-page statement and an open letter from Howard Pien, Chairman of the Board.
Howard wrote: “As you may know, the Department of Justice has taken the unusual step of indicting Indivior for events that date almost exclusively to before the company was formed in 2014. The Indivior Board of Directors, through a special committee of the board that I have chaired, has investigated the department’s allegations for several years, and the board believes they are flat wrong.
“The board has full confidence in the management of the company, and we will fight these charges on the facts and on the law in court.”
Indivior is listed in London and has a research centre in Hull as well as US headquarters.
The Department of Justice has demanded at least $3bn in fines. Indivior had a market value of £202m after the collapse of its shares following the announcement of the indictment.