(Reuters) – Arizona’s attorney general sued Insys Therapeutics Corporation on Thursday, accusing the drugmaker of participating in a dishonest marketing plan targeted at growing sales of the fentanyl-based cancer discomfort medicine.
The suit by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix comes during a number of federal and condition investigations dedicated to Insys’ Subsys opioid drug.
The suit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, accused Insys of having to pay doctors sham speaker charges in return for writing prescriptions of Subsys without regard for the sake of patients.
The suit also named three Arizona doctors as defendants who it stated collected speaker charges from Insys while writing prescriptions that generated greater than $33 million in sales of Subsys, or 64 percent of sales from the drug within the condition.
“We have to stop the dishonest and greedy behavior within the pharmaceutical industry that’s fueling the opioid crisis within our condition,” Brnovich stated inside a statement.
Insys didn’t immediately react to a request comment. Lawyers for that three doctors – Steve Fanto, Nikesh Seth and Sheldon Gingerich – couldn’t be immediately identified.
The situation may be the latest to focus on Subsys, an under-the-tongue spray meant for cancer patients which contains fentanyl, a very addictive and controlled synthetic opioid.
In December, federal prosecutors in Boston billed six former Insys executives and managers, including ex-Leader Michael Babich, with participating in a plan to bribe doctors to prescribe Subsys.
Babich and the co-defendants have pleaded not liable. Federal charges are also filed in a number of other states against other ex-Insys employees and doctors who prescribed Subsys.
Insys has stated it’s in talks using the U.S. Justice Department to solve the government probe.
The Arizona-based drugmaker formerly decided to pay a combined $8.95 million to solve investigations by attorneys general in Or, Nh and Illinois.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston Editing by Lisa Von Ahn