Dangerous Drug Attorneys Investigating the Deadly Opioid Drug Subsys
Insys Therapeutics, an Associated Pharmacy, and Associated Medical Doctors Distribute the Dangerous Opioid Drug Known as Subsys in a Reckless Manner
Attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, have represented hundreds of people across the United States whose lives were devastated by defective and dangerous drugs. We have helped many people in South Carolina and throughout the country, and sought justice against drug manufacturers for their inappropriate and unreasonable actions. There are times that companies and their associates put their profits ahead of the people they serve. We thought we had seen the worst of corporate greed in the last few years. Unfortunately, it appears there is another crisis brewing in the USA caused by a drug company and its associates.
Insys Therapeutics manufactures the opioid drug known as Subsys. This drug manufacturer needs to be held accountable for the injuries they caused families across the country. Through a complex web of kickbacks and bribery, Insys Therapeutics made $3 billion for its investors. But now, six of the top executives, former Insys sales representatives, and doctors are facing racketeering charges, have been convicted or have pled guilty for their roles in the Insys scheme. We will fight for justice for our clients who have been sold out by their doctors and by the pharmaceutical company itself.
What is Subsys?
America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that 6 out of every 10 overdose deaths are caused by opioids. But there are cases where opioids can help people – in particular, patients who are battling painful, and often terminal, kinds of cancer. Subsys is one such product. It is a fentanyl opioid spray that is used directly under the tongue of the suffering victim.
Why is Subsys dangerous?
Subsys has been described as either 50x or 100x more powerful than morphine. Because the medication is absorbed immediately, patients experience instant relief from intense pain. However, as Daniel P. Alford, professor at Boston University School of Medicine and the director of the school’s opioid education program, told Philly.com, such a drug should not be used long term; he said, “I can’t imagine a reason to use transmucosal fentanyl for chronic pain management.”
It appears that Insys, along with a mail order pharmacy and many doctors across the United States, are involved in a scheme to distribute this highly dangerous drug to people that should not be prescribed the medication. It is ONLY to be used in dire cancer situations. Instead, it is being marketed, distributed, prescribed and provided to patient with pain from hip and back pain. This is NOT what this drug is allowed to be prescribed for in regard to a potential patient.
Subsys is not the only dangerous fentanyl-based drug; it’s just one of the strongest on the market. Using it for chronic pain management increases a patient’s risk of developing an opioid addiction or of overdosing by an exponential amount.
What did Insys do wrong?
While Insys Therapeutics manufactured a real product for use in real situations, the company’s executives were not content, it seems, with having their drug only prescribed to a small set of patients with breakthrough cancer pain. Instead, Insys worked with doctors and a mail order pharmacy to get medical practitioners to prescribe this drug for pain management not related to cancer pain – either by bullying them, or by giving them kickbacks. The Illinois Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Insys “which accuses the company of healthcare fraud, seeks an unnamed amount of financial penalties as well as to permanently bar the company from selling Subsys, its only marketed product, in Illinois,” as per FiercePharma. The Oregon Attorney General has already accepted a settlement of $1.1 million for Insys’ use of “deceptive marketing and improper payments,” as per The Oregonian. Missouri Senator Clare McCaskill has also announced an investigation into Insys (and other manufacturers) for their marketing practices.
Furthermore, Philly.com reports, “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.”
Insys employees posed as doctors and other healthcare professionals and lied to insurance companies to get approval for repayment for the drug. As one employee told Fusion TV, “10 percent of the patients — the charts that came over — or less were cancer patients. That’s not a lot of money. Nobody’s going to get rich off of that. But you have this whole other world of everybody. That ‘my back hurts’ money. ‘My knee hurts’ money.”
In short, Insys Therapeutics went after the sick and the hurt to make a dollar. They convinced doctors throughout the country to take their bribes and engage in their scam. They may have committed a slew of crimes and became an active participant in the opioid crisis in this country. As of right now, many people have died from this drug and there are currently five different lawsuits in different parts of the country in regard to this company and its associated schemers.
Addictive painkiller prescribed to some who didn’t need it, lawsuit says
A dangerously addictive painkiller approved only for cancer patients has been prescribed to people who should never have taken it.
A South Carolina woman claims her doctor lied to her about the medicine called Subsys, and got her addicted, while he pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Watch the full story on WSOCTV
Which doctors accepted payments from Insys Therapeutics?
ProPublica, an independent newsroom of investigative journalists, created Dollars for Docs, a list of how much money doctors have accepted or received from various drugs and medical device companies. From the ProPublica list, we know that Insys made 62,359 payments totaling $16.3 million between August 2013 and December 2015. Some of those receiving doctors are oncologists, whose patients were the people Subsys was supposed to help.
The top 10 doctors listed on ProPublica’s site as receiving the most in “speakers” fees were also, coincidentally, some of the largest prescribers of the drug Insys to the American Public. In these top 10, only one is a licensed oncologist. None of these other nine doctors should have be allowed to prescribe Subsys to their patients in the levels they were prescribed or period since the drug was indicated only for cancer patients.
At this point, there is no known number of how many people’s lives were put at risk, and how many may still be in danger, thanks to Insys Therapeutics and the doctors who accepted their bribes. That is why the dangerous drug attorneys of McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, are currently accepting cases in South Carolina and around the country on behalf of victims of Insys Therapeutics’ insidious techniques. We have a well-earned reputation for handling some of the most complex mass torts in the country on behalf of those who have been harmed or injured.
Contact our team if you have been prescribed Subsys to manage your pain
Living in constant pain is a sad reality for people around this country. Taking advantage of them is unconscionable. At McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, we will fight to protect your rights and your future. To learn more about how our mass tort, dangerous drug and medical negligence lawyers can protect you, please call 888-302-7546. Or fill out our contact form. We are currently accepting cases in North Carolina, South Carolina, and throughout the country.