As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog post regarding the dangerous drug Fentanyl and the inappropriate marketing by Insys Therapeutics to increase its sales, the following article from Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation is a worthwhile read. Pharmaceutical companies’ compensating physicians for discussing their product is a longstanding, and legal, practice. It wasn’t until 2013 that concerns were raised within the medical community and regulations were put in place to ensure disclosure of all physician payments. However, another unremarked-upon issue is the nature in which potentially dangerous prescriptions such as Fentanyl are prescribed. Doctors are not heavily constrained by the law to restrict whether drugs can be prescribed for reasons other than what they are designed for. In the case of Fentanyl, data from the Food and Drug Administration shows that Subsys (a Fentanyl spray) is proving lethal to a growing number of patients who are taking it for reasons beyond what the drug was designed for. The article further delves into studies that have been done showing adverse events resulting in deaths since Subsys was approved by the FDA in January 2012. The overwhelming question is how a company like Insys can continue to grow exponentially despite this sort of data. This article tackles this question, taking a close look at Insys’ sales force and the leading prescribers at the center of serious allegations regarding their prescription-writing practices.
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