- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week the state filed a lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics, Inc. alleging that the company, which sells fentanyl drug Subsys, engaged in reckless marketing of the drug for a wider patient population, engaged in a pattern of deceptive and illegal conduct by downplaying the addiction risk of the drug, bribed doctors to prescribe the drug and lied to health plans to avoid authorization processes.
- The Attorney General’s office is asking the court to force Insys to repay revenues gained during the alleged misconduct period, as well as penalties. In total, the AG office is seeking a judgement of up to $75 million.
- But Insys says it is not accurate to link Insys "with materially contributing to the opioid crisis in the State of New York or the nation." The company said that in 2015, only 680 patients were prescribed Subsys in New York.
The New York lawsuit is the latest in a spate against the drug company: North Carolina sued Insys in December, New Jersey in October and Illinois agreed to a $4.45 million settlement with the company in August stemming from a 2016 lawsuit. In October 2017, Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor stepped down after being arrested on conspiracy charges.
"At a time when the opioid epidemic was ravaging New York, Insys Therapeutics allegedly marketed a drug illegally by blatantly disregarding the grave risks of addiction and death that opioids pose," Schneiderman said in a statement. "As we allege, Insys showed a wanton disregard for the law and the lives of New Yorkers and we will hold them accountable."
Subsys was approved for adult cancer patients with breakthrough pain who are opioid-tolerant in 2012 by the Food and Drug Administration.
The lawsuit alleges that Insys bribed prescribers to write prescriptions for the drug, offering between $3,000 to $5,000 to certain providers to speak at promotional events.
"From the time of the launch of the speaker program in 2012 to the present, Insys paid its top five prescribers in New York close to $1 million dollars, and those prescribers in turn generated more than $20 million dollars in net sales for Insys," the lawsuit states.