Report: Drug maker files for bankruptcy to cover opioid penalties

Report: Drug maker files for bankruptcy to cover opioid penalties

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Drug maker Insys Therapeutics filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday (June 11), just one week after the company was ordered to pay $225 million to resolve a federal investigation, according to the Washington Post.

“The over-production and over prescribing of prescription drugs is what led to the opioid epidemic,” Brad Byerley, DEA Special Agent in Charge, said.

Lee Zurik’s recent Investigate TV series, “Licensed to Pill” looked into the company’s practices of bribing doctors to prescribe Subsys, a dangerous fentanyl spray that’s 100 times more potent than Morphine.

“These guys were the most egregious form of greed, I have ever seen in my career,” Michael Burt, DEA special agent, said.

The founder of the Arizona based drug company and four other former executives were convicted of conspiring to bribe doctors and pay kickbacks for the sale of Subsys.

Two doctors from Mobile, Alabama were recently convicted for receiving those kickbacks.

Over 21 months, Insys paid the convicted doctors $271,000 for consultant and speaker fees to prescribe the drug. The fentanyl spray is considered one of the most dangerous opioids on the market.

According to the Washington Post, it’s the first time a drug maker has turned to bankruptcy court to contend with its legal expenses. Byerley said the company filing bankruptcy sends a strong message to the rest of the country.

“The message is that those manufacturers and drug distributors that operate outside the law will be held accountable by DEA,” Byerley said.

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