The pharmaceutical company behind the much-maligned opioid Fentanyl is in hot water yet again, this time under investigation by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who says the company – Insys – has been deceptive and downright fraudulent in their marketing and selling of Subsys, a spray form of Fentanyl. Charges were officially filed late last month.
“Insys lied to insurers, concealed key facts from doctors and patients, and paid doctors sham ‘speaker fees’ in exchange for writing prescriptions, all in order to increase the sales of Subsys, without regard for the health and safety of patients,” Brnovich said. “Insys made hundreds of millions of dollars from its deceptive scheme, but also put countless patients in harm’s way, exposing them to unacceptable and unnecessary risks of addiction and death.”
Many of you may remember the substantial $500,000 donation Insys made to oppose the passage of Prop 205 in Arizona last year; Prop 205 would have legalized adult use cannabis possession, growing and sales in the state but it was narrowly defeated by voters, 52-48%. Since then, Insys has received Schedule II approval for their own synthetic THC drug, Syndros.
Suffice it to say that there are few in the cannabis community and industry that are sad to see Insys in more hot water after the way they have approached the cannabis issue. I say “more hot water” because Insys has paid settlements of various lawsuits over the years in Illinois, New Hampshire and Oregon.
But this new trouble is different. Instead of being able to get away with paying fines that are a small fraction of the profits made from their drugs, Brnovich is using Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act to ask a judge to block Insys and its employees from engaging in unfair, deceptive or misleading acts. This allows him not only to demand restitution for patients who should never have received the Subsys product in the first place, but also force the company to give back all the profits they made from their “illegal practices.”
If Brnovich’s charges are true, Insys went to extraordinary lengths to sell Subsys, paying off doctors as well as lying to doctors, insurance companies and patients. Fighting against legalization while going out of your way to lie to patients and trick them and their insurers into paying for medicine they don’t need and is less effective than the cannabis whose legalization you put up $500,000 to stop…
Well, that pretty much speaks for itself.