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FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin

Arizona and Missouri Move Against Opioid Manufacturers

Sept. 7, 2017

Arizona joined the growing number of states filing lawsuits alleging marketing fraud by opioid manufacturers, as Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed suit against Insys Therapeutics and three doctors for allegedly being part of a fraudulent and misleading marketing effort for Subsys (fentanyl).

The Arizona lawsuit includes claims that Insys obtained prior insurance authorization for Subsys prescriptions by telling insurers that patients had cancer when in fact they did not, and that Insys falsely advertised Insys as a treatment for mild pain when it actually is approved by the FDA for management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients.

The lawsuit also claims that doctors Steve Fanto, Nikesh Seth and Sheldon Gingerich collected sham educational “speaker fees” in exchange for writing prescriptions for Subsys. The three doctors’ prescriptions accounted for more than $33 million, or 64 percent, of Subsys sales in Arizona from March 2012 to April 2017, the lawsuit says.

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