Drug­maker In­sys ac­cused of fraud­u­lent opi­oid mar­ket­ing

Business Daily (Kenya) - - NEWS INDEPTH -

Ari­zona sued In­sys Ther­a­peu­tics Inc last Thurs­day, ac­cus­ing the drug­maker of en­gag­ing in a fraud­u­lent mar­ket­ing scheme aimed at in­creas­ing sales of a fen­tanyl-based can­cer pain medicine called Sub­sys.

The law­suit by Ari­zona At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Brnovich in Mari­copa County Su­pe­rior Court in Phoenix comes dur­ing a se­ries of fed­eral and state in­ves­ti­ga­tions cen­tered on In­sys’ drug Sub­sys amid a na­tional opi­oid ad­dic­tion epi­demic.

The law­suit ac­cused Ari­zon­abased In­sys of pay­ing doc­tors sham speaker fees in ex­change for writ­ing pre­scrip­tions of

Sub­sys and of misleading in­sur­ers into be­liev­ing pa­tients who were pre­scribed the opi­oid had can­cer when they ac­tu­ally did not.

Brnovich also sued three Ari­zona doc­tors whom the law­suit said In­sys paid on av­er­age $200,000 while they wrote pre­scrip­tions that gen­er­ated over $33 mil­lion in sales of Sub­sys from March 2012 to April 2017.

“We need to put a stop to the un­eth­i­cal and greedy be­hav­ior in the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try that is fu­el­ing the opi­oid cri­sis in our state,” Brnovich said in a state­ment.

The law­suit seeks an in­junc­tion, resti­tu­tion for cus­tomers and the dis­gorge­ment of any il­le­gally earned prof­its.

In­sys had no im­me­di­ate comment. The three doc­tors - Steve Fanto, Nikesh Seth and Shel­don Gin­gerich - did not re­spond to re­quests for comment. The case is the lat­est to cen­ter on Sub­sys, an that In­sys agreed to pay to at­tor­neys gen­er­als to re­solve probe into un­der­hand deallings

un­der-the-tongue spray in­tended for can­cer pa­tients that con­tains fen­tanyl, a highly ad­dic­tive and reg­u­lated syn­thetic opi­oid.

In De­cem­ber, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors in Bos­ton charged six for­mer In­sys ex­ec­u­tives and man­agers, in­clud­ing for­mer Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Babich, with en­gag­ing in a scheme to bribe doc­tors to pre­scribe Sub­sys.

Babich and his co-de­fen­dants have pleaded not guilty. Fed­eral charges have also been filed in sev­eral other states against other for­mer In­sys em­ploy­ees and medical prac­ti­tion­ers who pre­scribed Sub­sys. Thurs­day’s law­suit named as de­fen­dants two for­mer In­sys em­ploy­ees who have faced fed­eral charges: Alec Burlakoff, a for­mer vice president of sales, and El­iz­a­beth Gur­ri­eri, a for­mer man­ager of re­im­burse­ment ser­vices.

Burlakoff has pleaded not guilty to rack­e­teer­ing con­spir­acy and other charges. Gur­ri­eri pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud con­spir­acy as part of deal to co­op­er­ate with US au­thor­i­ties.

Their lawyers did not re­spond to re­quests for comment on Thurs­day.

In­sys has said it is in talks with the US De­part­ment of Jus­tice to re­solve the fed­eral probe. It pre­vi­ously agreed to pay a com­bined $8.95 mil­lion to re­solve in­ves­ti­ga­tions by at­tor­neys gen­eral in Ore­gon, New Hamp­shire and Illi­nois.

Reuters

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