Small Arizona drug company Insys Therapeutics is back in the news due to the roles that several former executives played in a scheme that involved aggressive sales of the highly addictive pain drug fentanyl. Although criminal charges are unusual in cases involving pharmaceutical companies, federal prosecutors have brought racketeering charges against the executives. “Patient safety is paramount, and prescriptions for these highly addictive drugs, especially fentanyl, which is among the most potent and addictive opioids, should be prescribed without the influence of corporate money,” said Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States attorney in Massachusetts. Prosecutors hope these charges send a clear message to pharmaceutical companies that they will continue to battle the opioid crisis by any means necessary. See the New York Times article here.
The social cost of this behavior is profound. Not only is this behavior criminal, but so is that of those physicians whom the company pandered to, some of whom have also been prosecuted. Today’s burgeoning heroin epidemic is in part fueled by addicts who are made so by improper and dead-wrong prescribing of opiates for chronic pain.
Over the past year we have shared a few articles on this blog about Insys Therapeutics and the drug fentanyl. If you are interested in a more thorough account of both the drug and the company, you can check them out here: