Drug & Device Law

Maryland AG seeks tens of millions from fentanyl spray manufacturer

  • Print

The Maryland attorney general’s office is seeking $20 million in civil penalties from an Arizona-based drugmaker for paying doctors to write prescriptions for a fentanyl spray meant to manage pain in cancer patients but used to treat other conditions.

The Baltimore Sun and WBAL-TV have coverage.

“It’s an immediate release so that the person gets a high or a feeling that certainly alleviates pain—but it is also extremely addictive,” Attorney General Ben Frosh told the Sun about the spray, known as Subsys, and manufactured by Insys Therapeutics. His office alleges that 90 percent of the prescriptions written in Maryland for the fentanyl spray went to people who shouldn’t have received the drug, WBAL reports.

The agency also asserts that money Insys claimed to have used for speaking engagements actually paid for social events at bars, strip clubs and private hotel rooms, and that employees were trained to lie to insurers regarding why the drug was prescribed.

John Kapoor, Insys Therapeutics founder, has been charged in Massachusetts federal court with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Justice news release. He pleaded not guilty, Reuters reported.

In August, the company told azcentral.com that a tentative agreement was reached with the federal government to settle a probe of inappropriate sales practices by former employees with the company expected to pay at least $150 million over five years.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.