Pharmacist Jim Pearce fills a Suboxone prescription at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program in Boston, Massachusetts January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(Reuters) – Shares of Indivior Plc sank 44 percent on Wednesday after the U.S. Justice Department accused the British drugmaker of illegally boosting prescriptions for the film version of its blockbuster opioid addiction treatment Suboxone.

An indictment filed in federal court in Abingdon, Virginia, alleged Indivior made billions of dollars by deceiving doctors and healthcare benefit programs into believing the film version of Suboxone was safer and less susceptible to abuse than similar drugs.

Shares in the company, already facing a slump in Suboxone sales due to the arrival of generic competition after a long legal fight, traded as low as 57.7 pence in early trading in London, their lowest since listing in 2014.

The U.S. market, buoyed by attempts to combat an opioid epidemic that President Donald Trump has declared a public health emergency, accounts for 80 percent of Indivior’s revenue.

The indictment charged Indivior and its subsidiary Indivior Inc with conspiracy, health care fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. If Indivior is convicted, the government will seek to have it forfeit at least $3 billion, the indictment said.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham


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