Insys Therapeutics is facing trouble in court over allegations that it participated in a national conspiracy to bribe physicians and pharmacists to prescribe Sybsys, a mouth-spray version of fentanyl, to people who didn’t need it. The opioid medication was launched in 2012, but it didn’t do as well as expected. The drug, which is a potent painkiller, could be fueling part of the nation’s drug epidemic.
The company allegedly became aggressive about its marketing tactics, bribing and offering kickbacks to those who would prescribe the drug. Those kickbacks and bribes supposedly included honoraria and speaker fees.
In exchange for those bribes, it’s been alleged that the practitioners wrote prescriptions for patients. The majority were not cancer patients, which is a concern, because the spray version of the drug was to be used among terminal cancer patients. The scam allegedly took place across the United States including in Michigan, Florida and Texas.
Court records show that there were times when sales representatives encourages practitioners to prescribe higher dosages of the addictive fentanyl sprays. Additionally, since many patients didn’t have cancer, a reimbursement center formed by the company used employees to suggest to the insurance companies that they were calling on behalf of a patient with cancer and a medical provider treating the patient.
This situation is unique in that there is a risk that doctors have been prescribing addictive medications that would eventually make a company large amounts of money due to its demand. The opioid crisis is already a major issue throughout the United States, so those who participate in selling opiates could face harsh penalties for going askew of the law.
Source: Herald-Tribune, “Prosecutors: US conspiracy came amid slow sales of opioid,” Oct. 28, 2017