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Insys, doctors are sued for improper marketing of dangerous drug

The attorney general for Arizona filed a civil lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics on Wednesday, Aug. 30. In doing so, he accused the pharmaceutical manufacturing giant of deceptively marketing one of its drugs. He also accused the Chandler-based company of having kept a few select doctors on its payroll as speakers, doctors Insys rewarded monetarily for over-prescribing their high powered opioid spray Subsys.

As for the AG's lawsuit, it's been filed on the heels of the indictment of at least six of the drug company's former executives. They stand accused of bribery. Also listed as defendants on the filing are three different physicians who reportedly prescribed the drug to at least 66 percent of all Arizona patients who took it between 2012 and 2017. The retail value of all of those prescriptions is just over $50 million.

The plaintiff, who filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court System of Maricopa County, accuses Insys' executives of having violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act when it marketed the deceptively marketed the drug the way it did. It's argued that nothing made public warned of the dangers of using a fetanyl-based spray, described by some as significantly more powerful than heroin.

As for the doctors, they reportedly didn't discuss its remarkable potency with patients when prescribing it to them. The AG also found that they over-prescribed the drug. While most doctors prescribed it only 15 times over the course of five years, the three defendant doctors reportedly did so as much as 60 times a month each as their royalties increased.

The AG has asked the judge presiding over the case to order all defendants to abandon their deceptive marketing practices and to turn over any remaining profits from the sale of the drug. The plaintiff has also asked that the defendant be ordered to pay restitution and a civil penalty of as much as $10,000 per offense.

It's the responsibility of both pharmaceutical companies and doctors to disclose all known side effects of a drug to patients. When they fail to do so, it can cause patients to suffer from significant health complications or even die.

If you've suspect that your doctor tried to hide details about risks associated with certain drug or treatment from you, a Tucson medical malpractice attorney can provide guidance in your legal case.

Source: The Republic, "Arizona sues Insys Therapeutics, three doctors over improper marketing and prescribing of synthetic opioid," Ken Alltucker, Aug. 31, 2017