UK drugmaker Indivior is suffering the consequences of shady business practice after their stock crashed 80% following an indictment for their “truly shameful” opioid-addiction scheme.
Shares of Indivior stock plummeted 80% by Wednesday morning after the US Justice Department accused the British drugmaker of making billions of dollars by lying about the benefits of their medicinal treatment that ultimately led thousands of opioid-addicted patients to use the drug.
Indivior was indicted after they were accused of misleading doctors and public health officials about its Suboxone Film opioid-addiction treatment. The drugmaker led many to believe that their treatment was safer and would lead to less drug abuse.
“Our indictment alleges a wide-ranging and truly shameful scheme to put profits over the health and well-being of patients trying to manage substance use disorder and opioid dependence,” said Attorney General Mark Herring in a press release.
“It’s incredibly frustrating that while we have been working to remove the stigma around medication-assisted treatment and make it more widely available, Indivior was allegedly conspiring to exploit patients, taxpayers, and the expansion of [medication-assisted treatment].”
Indivior earned close to 80% of its 2019 revenue in the US due to efforts of trying to fight the opioid crisis. The indictment comes as more than 2 million Americans depend on or abuse prescription pain pills and street drugs, with nearly 50,000 having died from an overdose involving an opioid in 2017, according to CNN.
Indivior is facing $3 billion in fines if convicted on one or more of the felony offenses, according to Reuters.
However, Jefferies thinks a settlement could be possible, and prosecutors “would unlikely wish to be the cause for [Indivior] to cease operations given its major role in treating the opioid crisis in the US.”
Indivior plans to “vigorously contest” the charges and considers them to be “wholly unsupported by either the facts or the law,” according to a company press release.
“Key allegations made by the Justice Department are contradicted by the government’s own scientific agencies, they are almost exclusively based on years-old events from before Indivior became an independent company in 2014, and they are wrong,” it added.
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