Insys Therapeutics is under fire for creating fake cancer patients to sell its drugs. According to a federal indictment presented by Senator Claire McCaskill, the pharmaceutical company has paid doctors to falsify documents and medical records in an attempt to mislead insurance companies. The tactics were meant to increase the drug company's profits.
In a statement, McCaskill said Insys Therapeutics' scam contributed to the worsening opioid crisis that plagues the country. She added that epidemic has claimed 180,000 lives since 1999.
Apart from coming after Insys Therapeutics, the senator has also charged individual doctors for prescribing Subsys – a potent fentanyl product by Insys Therapeutics – when less addictive drugs are available.
If the opioid crisis is to be resolved, opioid manufacturers must somehow be held to account for criminally pushing addictive and deadly products onto the public. While some cities and states are already suing pharmaceutical companies over this, and some pharmaceutical executives have been arrested on conspiracy charges, a new corruption case highlights the methods companies are using to create addict customers.
In a federal indictment presented by Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics has been charged with using an array of tactics to fraudulently create fake cancer patients for its drugs. By offering kickbacks to doctors, falsifying medical records and deliberately misleading insurance companies, the case against Insys exemplifies the type of corruption which is causing the opioid epidemic.
The chief product of Insys, painkiller Subsys, is a sublingual spray containing fentanyl, one of the deadliest synthetic opioids today. Subsys is approved by the FDA to be sold only to patients with ‘breakthrough cancer pain.’ In other words, its only permitted for cancer patients, yet Insys has allegedly been falsifying patients in order to make it appear as though the demand for Subsys is higher than it actually is.
An employee of Insys has been caught on tape misleading a pharmacy benefits provider in order to get a Subsys prescription for a patient who does not have cancer. The smoking gun audio tape is heard in the following video:
From here, McCaskill’s investigation has expanded to include other companies for their roles in worsening the national opioid crisis.
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