Indivior’s problem isn’t generics, and it might ensnare Reckitt, too

Indivior stock had already fallen 75% over the past 12 months on fears over generic threats to its opioid addiction drug Suboxone Film. But the real bombshell hit last night: the US Department of Justice was indicting the company, alleging that it had illegally overprescribed Suboxone Film, and the news sent the shares crashing 70% today. That Indivior had worked so hard to fight off generics to a product that now threatens to be its undoing is just one irony. Another is that Suboxone Film is not a painkiller, so cannot be said to have contributed to the US opioid crisis that has resulted in increased scrutiny over all related drugs. Indivior insists that it will fight the allegations, which it says are self-serving and “almost exclusively based on years-old events from before Indivior became an independent company in 2014”, when it was demerged from Reckitt Benckiser. The point is of crucial importance: Reckitt is capitalised at over $50bn, and for litigation purposes has far deeper pockets than Indivior, which today is worth a mere $250m. Tellingly, Reckitt stock was off 6% in early London trading today.

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