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Beshear Sues Another Opioid Company Over Marketing Practices

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Ryland Barton
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Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit against another painkiller manufacturer, saying that the company fueled Kentucky’s drug epidemic through aggressive marketing and fraud.

The suit claims that Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics gave kickbacks to doctors who prescribed its products and used fraudulent tactics to get more people prescribed, including falsifying medical histories.

Beshear said the company’s fentanyl-based mouth spray Subsys was only approved for cancer patients but the company aggressively marketed the pain medication to get more patients prescribed.

“Insys sought to line their pockets by fraudulently acquiring insurance coverage approvals, giving kickbacks to doctors and incentivizing its sales force to engage in fraudulent and deceitful conduct,” Beshear said.

Inysys has been scrutinized for its marketing and promotion tactics for years and was the subject of a U.S. Senate report about aggressive opioid sales tactics.

This summer, the company also reached a $150 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over its sales practices.

The lawsuit is the ninth Beshear has filed against an opioid distributor or manufacturer over the last year as Kentucky’s drug overdose death rate continues to climb every year.

In 2017, 1,565 people died of drug overdoses in the state, up from 1,404 in 2016.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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