Insys Therapeutics under investigation for pushing powerful pain drug
- Insys is under investigation in CA, MA, CT, AZ and IL by state and federal authorities because of activities related to the prescribing and marketing of its main product, Subsys Fentanyl, which is delivered as an oral spray.
- Most of Insys's revenues comes from Subsys Fentanyl.
- The FDA-approved indication for Subsys Fentanyl is for management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients.
In the midst of a national opiate addiction crisis, Arizona-based Insys has behaved in a way that is unconscionable and deleterious to the health of patients, according to investigators. In addition to off-label marketing and forcing employees to behave in unethical ways, investigators have also discovered numerous cases in which Insys has bribed health care practitioners (HCPs) to prescribe Subsys Fentanyl and to encourage fellow HCPs to prescribe it.
The off-label marketing for this drug is off the charts, with physicians being encouraged to provide it for everything from neck pain, to migraines, to injuries and more. Moreover, at a cost of $900 to $3000 for 30 sprays, this drug is expensive, and the main driver of Insys's revenues.
The fact that this is occurring in the context of a national crisis will most likely make matters harder from a prosecution perspective. It's also part of a larger problem: Physician prescribing of pain medications has increased four-fold in the last 10 years.
Insys was once a stock market darling—but that may very well change in the near future.