Indivior shares slump 44% after US indictment for illegal marketing

A box of Indivior's Suboxone medication sits on a pharmacy shelf in Provo, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

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A box of Indivior’s Suboxone medication sits on a pharmacy shelf in Provo, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

Shares of Indivior sank 44 percent on Wednesday after the U.S. Justice Department accused the British drugmaker of illegally boosting prescriptions for the film variation 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 as well as healthcare benefit programs into believing the film variation of Suboxone was safer as well as less susceptible to abuse than similar drugs.

Shares inside 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 of which President Donald Trump has declared a public health emergency, accounts for 80 percent of Indivior’s revenue.

The indictment charged Indivior as well as its subsidiary Indivior Inc with conspiracy, health care fraud, mail fraud as well as wire fraud. If Indivior will be convicted, the government will seek to possess the item forfeit at least $3 billion, the indictment said