Currently hitting the limelight in the legal field is the class lawsuit filed by several lawyers against pharmaceutical company for its allegedly deceptive marketing practice. The lawsuit is directed towards Subsys, an oral spray for the treatment of cancer pain. The drug is 100 times more potent than morphine and has proven to e useful in providing pain relief to terminal cancer patients.
Subsys debuted in the market in 2012. It was designed as a painkiller for patients with late stage cancer pain. After its launch, the drug delivered record profits for the company. In the first half of 2015, Insys earned $147.2 million in sales from Subsys, which accounted for 99% of the company’s earnings during that period. However, most of the profit came from illegal practices. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, Subsys was prescribed for off-label use in non-terminal patients.
The Food and Drug Administration approved fentanyl for use by patients with late stage cancer pain. However, Insys marketed the drug directly to doctors as a treatment for neck pain, migraine, and other conditions. This was confirmed by former employees of the company who were instructed to target family doctors, internists, and general practitioners. The company also allegedly paid doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals to prescribe the drug. In 2015, a nurse pleaded guilty to receiving $83,000 worth of kickbacks in exchange for prescribing Subsys to patients.
The most recent case was filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit seeks to impose financial penalties and prohibit the company from selling Subsys in the state. The case alleged that Insys routinely marketed the drug for off-label use. In addition, the company marketed the drug to high-volume opioid prescribers who are not oncologists or pain specialists who treated cancer.
In August 2015, the company agreed to pay $1.1 million worth of settlement to officials in Oregon. The amount is more than twice the sales of Insys in Oregon. It also offered a payment of $6.125 million settlement to investors who claimed that Insys had knowledge that10% or approval prescription were for cancer patients.