Insys Therapeutics may settle Illinois opioid lawsuit for up to $4.5M: 5 things to know

Chandler, Ariz.-based Insys Therapeutics could pay up to $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed on behalf of the state over the drugmaker's opioid marketing practices, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are five key takeaways from the report.

1. The lawsuit, filed last August in Cook County Circuit Court, alleged the drugmaker engaged in a deceptive marketing campaign for its drug Subsys, a form of fentanyl that's sprayed under the tongue. The drug is meant to treat pain in cancer patients.

2. The suit alleges Insys encouraged physicians to prescribe the drug for off-label uses, such as the treatment of chronic migraines. Instead of marketing the drugs to oncologists, "Insys instead directed its promotion and marketing in Illinois to high-volume opioid prescribers who are not oncologists or pain specialists who treat cancer," the lawsuit reads.

3. Insys sold nearly $12 million worth of the drug in the state between April 2012 and March 2015, according to the lawsuit. About 94 percent of those sales were attributable to the top 10 opioid prescribers. 

4. Insys CFO Darryl Baker said the company set aside $4.5 million for an "estimated potential settlement" during an Aug. 3 earnings call, according to the Tribune. The drugmaker and Illinois have not yet announced a formal settlement.

5. Illinois is one of several states and municipalities to file opioid-related lawsuits against drugmakers. In 2015, nearly 1,400 died of opioid overdoses in Illinois, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health cited by the Tribune.

More articles on opioids: 
Kentucky imposes 3-day limit on opioid prescriptions: 3 things to know 
DEA proposes 20% cut in opioid manufacturing 
DOJ launches pilot program to crackdown on illegal opioid prescriptions

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