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US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces indictments to stop fentanyl and other opiate substances from entering the United States at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, October 17, 2017. On Wednesday, drug maker Indivior’s shares plunged more than 70 percent after the DoJ charged it with fraudulent marketing of drug Suboxone Film. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Drugmaker Indivior’s shares plunged more than 70 percent Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Justice charged it with fraudulent marketing of drug Suboxone Film used in opioid addiction treatment.

The (DoJ) has sought at least $3 billion in fines.

The share-slide accentuated after the federal grand jury in Virginia slammed Indivior for running a “truly shameful scheme to put profits over the health and the well-being of patients.”

Listed in London Stock Exchange, Indivior share (INDV) plunged 74.34 percent at 8.36 AM EDT and 73 percent at 2.03 PM BST in London. After the shares slide, the market value of Indivior shrunk to £202m ($264.39 million).

Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt blasted Indivior for promoting the drug Suboxone Film with scant regard for truth on its safety and hiding risks of diversion and abuse. The jury noted that Indivior lacked any scientific evidence to support its claims that its drug was safe and not prone to abuse.

The indictment noted that Indivior minted billions of dollars in revenue from Suboxone Film prescriptions that fooled health care providers into believing that Suboxone Film was safe, less divertible, and less abusable than other opioid-treatment drugs.

Allegations of diversion and abuse

Indivior is positioned as a solution to the epidemic of abuse. At the same time allegations prevailed that Suboxone is being misused.

Suboxone Film combines two drugs, Buprenorphine, and Naloxone. Buprenorphine belongs to the opioid family though there is no explicit euphoric effect.

But Naloxone is an opioid-reversal agent. Together, they satisfy the craving for some addictive need for opioids and ease pains of withdrawal.

The US misread the science, says Indivior boss

However, Howard Pien, Indivior’s chairman said the U.S. government badly misread the science around the drug and the company’s efforts to promote it.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work Indivior does to fight the opioid crisis,” his statement said.

The company, which calls itself a world leader in addiction treatment, contested the charges in its long rebuttal.

Rejecting allegations of DoJ as wrong, it said they were based on old events and pointed out that it was spun off as an independent company in 2014. It also claimed that many of the charges had already been contradicted by the U.S government's own scientific agencies. Indivior became independent from parent Reckitt Benckiser in 2014.

Fraudulent marketing facilitated drug abuse

Earlier, federal prosecutors in the Western District of Virginia charged Indivior of deceptions and contributing to an epidemic that killed thousands of people.

Prosecutors charged Indivior of marketing Suboxone in such a way that it helped many patients to misuse the drug and it turned a blind eye to such practices.

The jury highlighted a program “Here to Help” to increase prescriptions. “Indivior used the program to connect patients to doctors it knew were prescribing Suboxone and other opioids to more patients than allowed by federal law, at high doses, and in suspicious circumstances,” prosecutors said. But Indivior denied the allegation as unfounded.