Arizona AG’s office obtains over $400K from Valley doctor for opioid prescriptions

Oct 28, 2021, 8:00 PM
(AP file photo/Mark Lennihan, File)...
(AP file photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(AP file photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

PHOENIX — A Scottsdale-based pain management doctor will pay the state more than $400,000 pending court approval of a settlement over opioid prescriptions, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Wednesday.

The state alleged Dr. Steve Fanto from at least August 2013 through December 2016 acted as a paid speaker for Insys Therapeutics, Inc. and performed educational presentations related to a fentanyl-based pharmaceutical product, according to the settlement.

Fanto was paid at least $250,980 by the company in payments to influence him to prescribe the drug to his patients, the state alleged, and for increasing the number and dosage of prescriptions of the drug he wrote for his patients.

“Doctors have a primary obligation to protect the health and well-being of their patients and must exercise caution when accepting payments from pharmaceutical companies to promote opioids,” Brnovich said in a press release.

“We will hold accountable those who improperly profited from Arizona’s opioid crisis.”

The state alleged Fanto knew or should have known his conduct was prohibited by the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

As part of the settlement, Fanto must also pay an additional $152,000 in civil penalties to the state and is barred from receiving money or substantial gifts from pharmaceutical companies while holding a license to practice medicine in Arizona.

Fanto denied all allegations and agreed to the consent judgment solely in order to compromise disputed claims and avoid the expense and uncertainty of further litigation, according to the settlement.

This marks another development in the multi-defendant lawsuits filed against Insys Therapeutics, Inc.

Previous settlements with Insys Therapeutics, Inc. included a $9.5 million settlement with its former vice president of sales, a $2 million settlement with the former CEO and over $500,000 in combined settlements with two other doctors in the state who allegedly accepted speak fees from the company, according to the release.

The company itself pleaded guilty to federal charges and has declared bankruptcy, now ceasing to exist.

A fraud lawsuit against John Kapoor, the founder and former president of Insys Therapeutics, Inc., continues.

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Arizona AG’s office obtains over $400K from Valley doctor for opioid prescriptions