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Pharma boss sentenced to six months in US prison for opioid scandal

British boss of Indivior pharmaceutical group sentenced to six months in US prison for opioid scandal

The British former boss of drug group Indivior has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Shaun Thaxter, 53, pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in July in connection with the company’s marketing of its best-selling opioid addiction treatment, suboxone. He will also pay £ 460,000 in fines and forfeiture.

The case was brought by the US government, which accused Indivior of fraudulently marketing the drug.

Imprisonment: Shaun Thaxter pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in July in connection with how the company marketed its best-selling opioid addiction treatment, suboxone

Imprisonment: Shaun Thaxter pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in July in connection with how the company marketed its best-selling opioid addiction treatment, suboxone

It is one of the few corporate prosecutions in connection with an epidemic responsible for hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths.

Prosecutors allege that Indivior has made misleading safety claims about the film form of its flagship drug – which can be put under the tongue and fixed – in order to win doctors’ approval and protect its share of the lucrative market.

Suboxone is used by convalescent addicts to reduce withdrawal symptoms. But it is a powerful and addictive opioid.

Thaxter led Indivior from 2009 to July 2020, when he abruptly left with a £ 2.3 million exit package and admitted the charges the following day.

He would be the person responsible for the effort to add suboxone to the drugs that can be prescribed under the Massachusetts state of Medicaid program in 2012.

Indivior argued that the film was safer than tablets because it was less likely to be misused and because it was more difficult for children to use accidentally, but it “lacked any scientific evidence” to support this, prosecutors said.

The claims led to the drug being prescribed to some patients with children under the age of six. Thaxter’s attorney stressed that he had no idea the alleged false claims had been made.

But prosecutors said he “oversaw and encouraged” the marketing efforts.

Daniel Bubar, first assistant US attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said: “He was able to ensure that doctors, patients and insurers were treated fairly.

Instead, Thaxter failed to prevent profit-making efforts through misleading security claims, leading to millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains. ‘

Indivior has denied all wrongdoing, saying Thaxter’s conviction is unrelated to the company. In July, it agreed to pay £ 470 million for the scandal.

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser, who owned Indivior until 2014, has admitted no wrongdoing, but has paid £ 1.1 billion to settle claims.

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