Insys Therapeutics bribed doctors to prescribe its fentanyl spray, the company admitted as part of a $225 million settlement with the U.S. government.
Federal criminal and civil charges accused the company of paying kickbacks, disguised as “speaker fees,” and using other illegal marketing practices for Subsys, its sublingual fentanyl spray approved by the FDA in 2012.
Under the agreement, Insys pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud and the Justice Department agreed to defer prosecution for five years. The company will pay $2 million in fines and forfeit another $28 million. In the civil case, Insys has agreed to pay $195 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act.
The charges of mail fraud stemmed from the company’s use of “speaker programs” to elevate Subsys as a brand. The drugmaker hosted peer-to-peer educational lunches and dinners that were a front for bribes and kickbacks given to selected physicians who, in return, increased their prescribing and dosages of Subsys.