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Minnesota joins states filing lawsuits against pharma firms, sues Insys over fraudulent marketing

June 4, 2018 opioid

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Minnesota joins states filing lawsuits against pharma firms, sues Insys over fraudulent marketing

Minnesota recently joined the states that have sued pharmaceutical companies for their fraudulent marketing practices adopted to promote the sale of opioid painkillers in the market. The state filed its first ever lawsuit against a pharma company in the wake of the opioid epidemic devastating the entire United States.

Lori Swanson, the state’s attorney general, along with the state’s Board of Pharmacy sued Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics for illicit marketing and promotion of Subsys – a fentanyl spray – accusing it of selling the strong painkiller saying it was safe to use. The company has also been accused of violating the restrictions imposed by the state on giving away gifts to doctors.

The lawsuit states that Insys was promoting the painkiller approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat pain in cancer patients for some other conditions and at higher doses. According to Swanson, the physicians were encouraged by the company to prescribe the drug to the patients who did not have cancer. Insys allegedly used to pay certain amount to non-oncologists to encourage the drug’s prescription. This payment was defined as “speaker fees,” so that it gets easier to get away from a law that prohibits the practice of gift to doctors anything beyond $50.

Litigations against Purdue Pharma

Several litigations have been filed against Purdue Pharma LP, which manufactures Oxycontin, in various states for deceptively marketing its painkiller drugs. The company is thus accused of actively contributing to the nation’s opioid epidemic which has been claiming thousands of lives every year.

As per reports, Utah’s Carbon County recently filed a 53-page lawsuit, stating that Purdue Pharma violated state consumer protection laws, tainted the risk of addiction and misleadingly claimed that doctors and patients could increase the drug’s dosage without posing any danger to their health. Millions of dollars in damages along with the halt on the inflow of opioids into the state are likely due to this lawsuit. Earlier, the state’s four other counties – Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele and Weber, had sued Big Pharma over the increase in prescription painkillers.

Prior to Utah, the lawsuits were filed by 16 other American states, as well as its territory Puerto Rico and New York City. The attorneys general of Nevada, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee had said that the company violated the state consumer protection laws by talking less about the opioid’s addiction risk and instead, exaggerating the benefits.

In addition to Purdue Pharma, Florida had also filed lawsuits against other drug makers like Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc, Allergan, units of Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Mallinckrodt as well as drug distributors like AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp.

Seeking help for opioid addiction

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016 of which nearly 66 percent involved opioids, both prescription and illegal. Therefore, it is important to help people know about the dangers associated with these drugs and prevent them from developing addiction.

If a loved one is addicted to opioids and needs help, you can reach out to Recover Mental Health for assistance in accessing the best drug rehab near you. We can help you scan through addiction treatment facilities across the U.S. and find the drug treatment center best suited to your need. Call our 24/7 helpline number (866) 593-2339 or chat online with an expert for more.

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