Behind the $1.1 million settlement between Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and a drug manufacturer lies a tale of “unconscionable, false and deceptive sales tactics,” including wining and dining, and even flirting with, Oregon doctors.
The settlement outlines in great detail how Chandler, Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics went about marketing Subsys, an FDA-approved opioid for cancer pain. The fentanyl-based narcotic is administered with an under-the-tongue spray and rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream.
The FDA approved Subsys for breakthrough cancer pain, but not other kinds of pain treatment. Insys, however, implicitly misrepresented that Subsys “should be used to treat migraine, neck pain, back pain and other off-label uses for which Subsys is neither safe nor effective,” according to the state Department of Justice’s Notice of Unlawful Trade Practices and Proposed Resolution.
Opioids, including fentanyl and Oxycodone, are highly addictive and often ineffective for chronic pain. Oregon led the nation in nonmedical use of prescription drugs in 2012.