North Carolina AG accuses Insys of illegally pushing fentanyl, files lawsuit

Josh Stein, North Carolina's attorney general, on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics for allegedly conducting a deceptive marketing campaign to promote its fentanyl-based painkiller Subsys, which is meant to exclusively treat breakthrough cancer pain.

The lawsuit alleges Insys delivered illegal kickbacks to physicians in exchange for promoting and prescribing Subsys for non-cancer pain, and deceived health insurers into covering prescriptions of the drug for unapproved use.

"As millions of Americans were becoming addicted to and dying from prescription painkillers, it appears Insys and its sales representatives [were] pushing its incredibly potent opioid on North Carolina patients just to make more money," Mr. Stein said. "This is unconscionable, it’s unacceptable and it’s illegal. Today, I am acting to hold them accountable."

In October, police in Phoenix arrested John Kapoor, the founder and former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud related to the alleged scheme to promote the over-prescription of Subsys. Mr. Kapoor pleaded not guilty to the charges in November.

More articles on opioids: 
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Allegheny, UPMC receive millions in grants to address Pennsylvania opioid crisis: 3 things to know
Opioid deaths fuel dip in US life expectancy for second straight year: 5 things to know

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