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Amid a worsening opioid crisis, a U.S. senator has opened a probe into Alkermes and its controversial promotion of the Vivitrol monthly shot for combating opioid addiction.

The move comes as Alkermes is scrutinized for aggressive lobbying and marketing. The company has spent heavily on contributions to lawmakers who are trying to mitigate opioid abuse. In state legislatures across the country, the drug maker has pushed bills that favor its treatment over rival medicines. And Alkermes has provided thousands of free doses to encourage usage in jails and prisons.


In disclosing her investigation, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pointed to reports that Alkermes has attempted to increase Vivitrol sales by playing up misconceptions about other medications — notably, methadone and buprenorphine — and trying to limit their availability. She suggested the campaign explains why Vivitrol sales rose to $209 million last year from $30 million in 2011.

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  • I came to know Dick Pops a few years ago during a proposed merger. Dick is an honorable man. Harris is a naked political opportunist whom I wouldn’t allow to shine his shoes, racial metaphors notwithstanding.

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