Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC agrees to pay $1.4 billion to settle whistleblower cases

On July 11, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC agreed to pay $1.4 billion to resolve possible criminal and civil liability related to allegations involving the sale of the opioid addiction treatment drug Suboxone. 

We represent one of the individuals who blew the whistle on Reckitt and helped bring this case to the government’s attention. The resolution – the largest recovery by the United States in a case concerning an opioid drug – includes the forfeiture of proceeds totaling $647 million, civil settlements with the federal government and the states totaling $700 million, and an administrative resolution with the Federal Trade Commission for $50 million.

Suboxone is used by recovering opioid addicts to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms while they undergo treatment. Suboxone and its active ingredient, buprenorphine, are powerful and addictive opioids. 

 “We are confronting the deadliest drug crisis in our nation’s history. Opioid withdrawal is difficult, painful, and sometimes dangerous; people struggling to overcome addiction face challenges that can often seem insurmountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Drug manufacturers marketing products to help opioid addicts are expected to do so honestly and responsibly.”

“Opioid manufacturers – like all drug manufacturers – have a duty to market their products both truthfully and safely,” said Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. “Opioid manufacturers have an additional and critically important duty to maintain effective controls to prevent their highly dangerous products from being abused and diverted.”

Multiple cases were resolved as part of this settlement, including the case that we investigated and filed.  Like in all of our whistleblower actions, we’re extremely proud of our client for having stepped forward to try and bring defendants’ conduct to light. It was an honor to guide our client through this process. We are hopeful that the settlement reached here will go a long way in improving patient safety and preventing possible future harm. A copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed here {}.

Whistleblowers who bring these kinds of actions are usually awarded between 15% to 30% of the government’s recovery.

About Sarraf Gentile LLP

Sarraf Gentile LLP has extensive experience representing whistleblowers, investors, employees  and others in qui tam, whistleblower and class actions cases across the United States. The firm has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of its clients.

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Joseph Gentile
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