The generic drug distributor Rochester Drug Co-Operative Inc. has sued the maker of the opioid addiction treatment Suboxone for allegedly monopolizing the opioid treatment market, Bloomberg reports.
The maker of Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone), Reckitt Benckiser Group, developed a film version of Suboxone that is placed under the tongue, to replace the tablet form of the drug. According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, this prevented competition, because pharmacists cannot substitute the cheaper generic version.
“Reckitt concocted a multifaceted anticompetitive scheme, executed over the course of several years, to maintain and extend its monopoly power,” Rochester Drug stated in its complaint. The article notes Suboxone is used to help control opioid withdrawal symptoms.
In September, 2012, Reckitt notified the Food and Drug Administration it was voluntarily discontinuing the supply of Suboxone tablets in the United States, due to increasing concerns with children’s exposure and risk for accidental poisonings. The U.S. Poison Control Centers found consistently and significantly higher rates of accidental unsupervised pediatric exposure with Suboxone tablets, compared with the film.