Sunday Special… …Crisis and corruption – Part One: Insys Corp.

Sadly, in the midst of the prescription opioid abuse epidemic, profiteers are cynically, blatantly illegally and without conscience continuing to harvest profits from suffering and loss by supplying the fuel that keeps the epidemic burning a hole in society’s heart.

In this case we see a company (owned by a man cultivating a reputation as a generous philanthropist yet!) playing every underhanded card it could stuff into its deck… …including taking time on the side to work against further cannabis reform by contributing $500,000 to a campaign to defeat an AZ initiative, thus trying to manipulate law to stifle a legitimate competitor for patient’s treatment choices.

“The billionaire founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics was arrested [on 10/27] on racketeering and fraud charges for an alleged nationwide scheme to push an extremely potent opioid drug containing fentanyl onto patients.

According to the Dept. of Justice, John Kapoor, 74, used bribes, kickbacks, and other fraudulent practices to get doctors to overprescribe the drug Subsys.

Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Subsys is only intended to treat severe pain in cancer patients. But according to the DOJ, many receiving Subsys didn’t have cancer.

The DOJ alleges that Kapoor, along with six former executives, paid doctors and pain clinics in various states to write “large numbers of prescriptions.” It also alleges that Insys used fraudulent means to get health insurance providers to cover the harmful prescriptions.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) responded, saying:

‘This company has repeatedly gotten away with fines that amounted to a slap on the wrist for actions that helped fuel a nationwide epidemic that’s claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives. Anyone, including top executives, who potentially violated criminal law should be aggressively prosecuted.’

The Acting US Attorney [said]:

‘We must hold the industry and its leadership accountable—just as we would the cartels or a street-level drug dealer’.”

This deplorable story has been widely covered in the press, but the linked article has the most detailed treatment we’ve seen to date…

We would add that similar sentiments were uttered years ago when companies like Purdue (and others) were ramping up shipments of new agents like Oxycontin through at least questionable marketing activities, misleading therapeutic claims and inadequate safety measures.

And yet here society is again. While the crisis has deepened rather than improved – even given all of the information now available – as we’ve been sharing for several days now (and we will wrap up with more aspects of the story tomorrow).

So we ask again, what aren’t we learning as a civilization, and why aren’t we learning it….??

#MMJ #Opioids #USpol #UtahNext #TRUCE    

See full article – DOJ: Billionaire pharma owner fueled the opioid epidemic with bribery scheme