The state of North Carolina has just sued a famous drug maker for conducting a bribery scheme that enticed doctors to prescribe an extremely powerful opioid to their patients.
The drug, Subsys, is usually prescribed only to cancer patients as it is 50 times more potent than heroin and twice as much than morphine.
Attorney General Josh Stein filed a lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics over the illegal marketing campaign that has likely gotten thousands of people hooked on the mouth spray. Subsys is recommended only to cancer patients since the ingredient fentanyl can alleviate extreme pain.
According to the lawsuit, Insys representatives bribed the doctors who gave the drug to noncancer patients. The company also held conferences across North Carolina to convince other physicians to join in the scheme.
Insys’ Actions Have Just Fueled the Opioid Epidemic
The lawsuit wants the drug company to give up all the profits derived from the scheme and to pay penalties. Insys is also accused of misleading insurers into covering the drug for noncancer patients.
Stein who also leads a major investigation into similar schemes nationwide deemed Insys’ actions ‘unacceptable’ especially at a time when the nation is struggling with an opioid epidemic. In North Carolina, four people die from an unintended opioid overdose every day.
Stein underlined that these kinds of powerful pain killers have made millions of Americans addicted to them. He added that the drug company unlawfully promoted the drugs to make more money.
In October, the company’s billionaire founder, John Kapoor, was indicted in Massachusetts for offering kickbacks to physicians to prescribe the drug to noncancer patients just to boost sales. Kapoor is listed as one of the richest billionaires in Arizona. His lawyer said he would fight all charges.
Image Source: Flickr