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Dangerous Drug Alert: What You Must Know about the Opioid Drug Subsys and the Way It Was Marketed to Users

Insys Therapeutics is the creator of a fentanyl opioid spray called Subsys. Subsys was approved by the Food & Drug Administration only for certain cancer patients for the management of breakthrough pain. A patient sprays Subsys under his or her tongue, which allows the medication to be absorbed immediately.

Subsys is an incredibly powerful drug. It has been described as 50x more powerful than morphine (this source says it’s 100x more powerful). Given how easily and how quickly people can become addicted to opioid painkillers – and how the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has called opioid-related drug overdoses an epidemic in this country – you might assume that Insys Therapeutics would be very, very careful about how they market their drug, and to whom they market it.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Insys Therapeutics, it seems, along with some doctors and a mail-order pharmacy, concocted a scheme wherein they have been boosting the sales of their drug by marketing it to medical practitioners as appropriate for the treatment of non-cancer pain. In return, they have offered kickbacks and bribes to these doctors and the pharmacy through “speakers’ fees.” The majority of these doctors who accepted speakers’ fees from Insys were also among the highest prescribers of Subsys to their patients – patients who did not have cancer.

Furthermore, Insys Therapeutics has trained its own employees to call up insurers in order to obtain approval and payment for the drug. As reported, “The company set up an elaborate ‘reimbursement unit’ whose employees, posing as staffers from physicians’ offices, called insurers to obtain prior authorization by fraudulently claiming that patients had cancer, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Boston last year.”

We invite you to read more about Insys Therapeutics and the dangers of Subsys.

What Insys did should matter to all of us

A number of high-ranking employees of Insys Therapeutics, as well as the doctors involved in the scheme, have been charged with crimes, have been convicted of crimes, or have pled guilty of crimes. To that end, criminal justice is being served – but civil justice has not.

The CDC says that 6 out of every 10 fatal drug overdoses involves an opioid drug. There were 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in this country in 2015. In that same year, it is estimated that 122,000 children between 12 and 17 developed an addiction to prescription painkillers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl in particular can literally stop you from breathing. The use of fentanyl went up more than 70% across this country from 2014 to 2015.

Insys Therapeutics made a drug for real-world use by cancer patients and marketed that drug as a way to relieve chronic pain, despite knowing how easily, quickly and often opioids and synthetic opioids kill people.  This country is in the grip of a drug epidemic started by our own doctors, and Insys Therapeutics decided to make as much money as they could off of us. They put us at risk. They put our families at risk. They put their profit margins ahead of the people they supposedly promised to protect, and their all-encompassing greed won out over everything, including the Hippocratic oath sworn by the prescribing doctors to first, Do No Harm.

You don’t have to take this – and neither will we.

McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, is committed to seeking justice on behalf of the victims of Insys Therapeutics and the doctors and medical facilities who profited off of their patients. Our defective drug attorneys and medical malpractice attorneys are currently representing people who were wrongfully prescribed the dangerous dug Subsys. We have the skills, experience and resources to handle these types of complex claims, and are currently accepting clients from South Carolina, North Carolina, and throughout the United States.

If you were prescribed Subsys, for chronic pain management or for any other non-intended use, we want to help you fight for the justice and the future you deserve. Please call 803-327-7800 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation at one of our offices throughout North and South Carolina. Let us fight for you.