The attorney general of Arizona on Thursday filed suit against Insys Therapeutics. The Arizona AG accused the drug maker of carrying out a fraudulent marketing campaign that was aimed at increasing its sales of pain medicine for cancer that was fentanyl based.
The lawsuit by Mark Brnovich the Arizona AG was filed in Phoenix’s Maricopa County Superior Court and comes during a number of state and federal investigations centered on the opioid drug made by Insys called Subsys.
The lawsuit alleges that Insys paid doctors speaker fees for not speaking, in exchange for the writing of prescriptions of the company’s drug Subsys without any regard for the person’s health for which the prescription was written for.
The complaint also named three doctors in Arizona as the defendants who the suit said collected the speaker fees handed out by Insys in exchange for writing the prescriptions that generated sales of more than $33 million of the drug, equal to 64% of the total sales for Subsys in the state.
A stop needs to come to the greedy and unethical behavior across the pharmaceutical industry, which has fueled the crisis the state of Arizona has with opioids, said Brnovich through a prepared statement released to the press.
The three doctors named in the lawsuit are Steve Fanto, Sheldon Gingerich and Nikesh Seth, but were not available for comments.
This case is just the latest one that centers on Subsys, a spray that is applied under the tongue that is intended for use by cancer patients that had fentanyl, which is a highly addictive as well as regulated synthetic opioid.
Boston federal prosecutors in December charged six former executives with Insys including the former CEO Michael Babich, with carrying out a campaign to bribe doctors in exchange for them prescribing Subsys.
Babich and his other co-defendants have all entered pleas of not guilty. Federal charges were also filed in a number of other states against other former employees at Insys as well as medical practitioners who had prescribed Subsys.
Insys says that it is talking with the Justice Department in the U.S. to resolve their federal probe.
The drug maker based in Arizona previously had agreed to pay $8.95 million as a way to resolve the investigations by the attorney generals from Illinois, New Hampshire and Oregon.