Prescription opioid producer based in Chandler under fire

Nov 26, 2016, 7:23 PM | Updated: Nov 28, 2016, 10:44 am
Fentanyl is a narcotic that is typically administered to people with chronic pain, including end-st...
Fentanyl is a narcotic that is typically administered to people with chronic pain, including end-stage cancer patients. It is also used as an anesthetic. It is considered 80 times more powerful than morphine and can kill by inhibiting breathing. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)
(AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)

Chandler-based Insys Therapeutics, a producer of a popular prescription opioid, is under fire for its practices of selling and allegedly indirectly promoting abuse of its painkiller called Subsys.

It’s most telling case involves two Alabama doctors who prescribed nearly $5 million of the highly-addictive painkiller to Medicare patients in 2013 and 2014, reports the Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, Insys co-founder and billionaire Chairman John N. Kapoor personally visited with Drs. John Couch and Xiulu Ruan. The company additionally paid them about $270,00 in combined fees to work as consultants on behalf of Insys.

Insys declined to respond to specific questions for this article but said in a statement that it is “committed to working with the health care community to help ensure the proper prescribing and use of our products.” The company itself hasn’t been accused of any crimes.

The prosecutors consider the fees bribes for the doctors prescribing the drugs more than any other doctors in the country, according to federal data. The pair wrote more than a quarter million prescriptions of Insys products, some which were allegedly used by addicts or “diverted to drug traffickers,” the indictment said.

The company produced large sums of Fentanyl — Subsys is a Fentanyl drug — an opioid that can be “up to 50 times as powerful as heroin” and, according to the charges, has aided the prescription drug addiction crisis in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal reports that data shows Insys promoted doctors to over-prescribe their products.

Of the top 20 physician-prescribers of Subsys to Medicare patients in 2014, more than half were also among the 20 largest recipients of consulting and other fees from Insys that year, a Journal analysis of recently released federal data shows.

Prosecutors in more than 15 jurisdictions have begun determining if Insys had illegal practices.

Two former Insys employees have already been charged in a separate case.

Additionally, federal prosecutors in Boston arrested the leader of the company’s reimbursement team for encouraging fraud in “obtaining payment for Subsys from pharmacy-benefit managers,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Insys also allegedly promoted its sales representations to ask doctors to “prescribe the highest doses possible,” prosecutors told the paper.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook photo: Steak 44)...

6 Arizona restaurants make OpenTable’s best date night spots

Teaming up with the app Bumble, OpenTable came up with the best 100 spots for a date night, with six Arizona restaurants making the list. 
1 day ago
(Pixabay Photo)...

Suspect charged in carjacking, shooting at Target parking lot in Peoria

A suspect was charged Friday in the carjacking and shooting at a Target parking lot in Peoria, authorities said.
1 day ago
FBI agents in Chattanooga, Tennessee, plan out Operation Cross Country investigative activities....

Phoenix FBI agents find 17 human trafficking victims as part of Operation Cross Country

Phoenix-based FBI agents located 17 adult victims of human trafficking last week as part of a nationwide enforcement campaign, authorities said.
1 day ago
FILE - A boat cruises along Lake Powell near Page, Ariz., on July 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, ...
Associated Press

2 killed, 5 injured when plane crashes into Lake Powell near Arizona-Utah border

Two people were killed and five others injured after a small plane crashed into Lake Powell near the Arizona-Utah border, authorities said.
1 day ago
Virginia Walker, 64, was last seen in Phoenix on Friday. (Phoenix Police Department Photo)...

Silver Alert canceled for 64-year-old woman last seen in Phoenix

Authorities said a Silver Alert for a woman who went missing in Phoenix late last week has been canceled after she was found safe Monday.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Fire Department)...
Taylor Kinnerup

Phoenix Fire Department response times increasing due to lack of resources, population growth

Phoenix Fire Department leaders are sounding the alarm over a lack of resources, which is leading to an 80% increase in call response times as the Valley’s population continues to boom.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Prescription opioid producer based in Chandler under fire