Arizona Going After Pharma For Fraudulent Opioid Marketing

Some time ago, RedState told you about the investigation into the marketing practices of some pharmaceutical companies and the role that might have played in the ongoing opioid epidemic in the country.

Now the state of Arizona is joining other states like Illinois who have crossed the Rubicon and brought charges against one company, Insys, for marketing a fentanyl painkiller as appropriate for mild pain when it is many times more powerful than heroin, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Arizona’s consumer-fraud suit, filed in state court in Maricopa County, alleges that the Chandler, Ariz., company profited from Subsys in part by misleading insurers and health-care providers about the proper use of the drug.

For instance, the state says Insys advertised the opioid as being appropriate for mild pain, a claim inconsistent with the terms of its FDA approval. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 50 times as powerful as heroin…

“We need to put a stop to the unethical and greedy behavior in the pharmaceutical industry that is fueling the opioid crisis in our state,” said [Arizona’s attorney general Mark Brnovich, a Republican.

In addition to employees of Insys, the suit also named three Arizona doctors “whom the state says were paid on average $200,000 apiece in sham ‘speaker fees’ in exchange for writing Subsys [Insys’ version of the painkiller] prescriptions.”

Other states have also brought charges related to opioid prescription malpractice — although not specifically against Insys — including OhioSouth Carolina and Missouri.

According to an August 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control, “nearly half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. In 2015, more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.”