Maryland Consumer Protection Division accuses pharmaceutical manufacturer of inducing prescribers

By Marian Johns | Sep 14, 2018

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division has filed charges against a pharmaceutical manufacturer for allegedly distributing opioids to "off label" patients and inducing prescribers with monetary incentives. 

According to the Maryland Attorney General's Office, Insys Therapeutics Inc. (Insys) violated the Consumer Protection Act for targeting its potent opioid Subsys, approved to treat breakthrough pain in adult cancer patients, for off label patients. In addition, the Attorney General's Office alleges Insys masked thousands of dollars in monetary inducement to prescribers through its "speaker program." 

Prescribers were paid to deliver speeches for the program and were paid up to $5,000 an event with the expectation to write an increased amount of Subsys prescriptions, the Attorney General's Office said. 

“Opioid addiction and overdose are destroying lives in every community across Maryland,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement. “The allegations against Insys describe a calculated scheme employing doctors, pharmacists and sales reps to increase profits and market share at the expense of the health and well-being of vulnerable patients.”

Frosh's office also alleges Insys created a system designed to go around insurers' authorization requirements by misrepresenting diagnoses and illnesses in order to receive payments for inappropriate prescriptions. 

The Consumer Protection Division is asking Insys to cease and desist its deceptive trade practices and asks that the company be required to return revenue from the illegal prescriptions and to pay civil penalties. 

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