The word “opioid” has practically become foul language, hasn’t it? The name, which once stood solely as a description of a family of pain relievers, is now synonymous with addiction, drug overdoses and health care fraud. As the Allegiant Experts Blog has covered extensively over the past several months, doctors, pharmacists, clinic owners and a host of other members of the medical community all make up the long list of fraudsters who manipulate the sale and distribution of opioids for personal profit.
You can now add Insys Therapeutics to the list of perpetrators.
The company, known for manufacturing opioids, has just agreed to pay no less than $225 million to settle federal criminal and civil charges. As reported yesterday by Katie Thomas of the New York Times, Insys illegally marketed a highly addictive fentanyl painkiller to doctors.
Thomas reports that, last month, a federal jury in Boston found that top Insys executives, including founder, John Kapoor, were guilty of conspiring to boost the sales of the drug, Subsys by bribing doctors and misleading insurance companies.
Insys used phony “speaker programs”.
As Thomas details, from August 2012 to June 2015, “Insys used phony ‘speaker programs’ to spread the word about its newly approved product, Subsys, which is a form of fentanyl that is sprayed under the tongue. The powerful painkiller was approved only for use in patients with cancer who were already using round-the-clock opioids, but the company quickly began marketing the product to a broader range of patients.”
Such incentives as lavish dinners and other events were used to entice doctors to prescribe more Subsys to patients. During the trial, prosecutors revealed the example of a New Hampshire-based physician assistant who never wrote a Subsys prescription until he joined the company’s speaker program in May of 2013. He would go on to write no less than 672 Subsys prescriptions and was paid $44,000 from Insys for his efforts. These monies were deemed to be illegal kickbacks.
Insys’ settlement totals $225 million.
As part of the settlement, which Insys described as being in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders, the company will pay a $2 million fine and forfeit $28 million. In addition, Insys will be paying a whopping $195 million to settle allegations that the company violated the federal False Claims Act, which involves defrauding the federal government through drug sales to health care programs like Medicare, reports Thomas.
“The prosecution of Insys and its executives provides the latest example of the federal government’s recent crackdown on drug makers and others as it seeks to hold them accountable for the nation’s opioid epidemic, which has led to more than 200,000 overdoses in the past two decades,” she writes.
Insys is not the only opioid manufacturer facing legal action for its role in the horrid opioid crisis plaguing the United States. Thomas notes that state attorney generals in New York and Massachusetts have their eyes on members of the Sackler family. They own Purdue Pharma – the producer of of OxyContin.
Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?
If so, please don’t hesitate to contact the Allegiant Experts team to find out how our clinical expertise may help your case. Give us a call at 407-217-5831 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.