Amneal ships opioid-dependence drug

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Amneal Pharmaceuticals has started shipping a drug used to treat opioid dependence, the company said Tuesday.

The generic drug maker announced the shipment of buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride dihydrate sublingual tablets in the 2-mg/0.5-mg and 8-mg/2-mg strengths. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in February.

The drug includes a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, a program required by the FDA to ensure that its benefits outweigh its risks.

The drug is a generic version of Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare's Suboxone, which had sales of $1.5 billion in 2012, according to IMS Health.