Maryland attorney general seeks $20 million in damages from fentanyl manufacturer

The Maryland attorney general’s office on Thursday accused Insys Therapeutics, the manufacturer of a powerful fentanyl spray, of violating consumer protection laws by engaging in a "deceptive scheme" to buy the help of doctors and deceive insurance companies to increase sales.

The Maryland attorney general’s office on Thursday accused Insys Therapeutics, the manufacturer of a powerful fentanyl spray, of violating consumer protection laws by engaging in a "deceptive scheme" to buy the help of doctors and deceive insurance companies to increase sales. The attorney general's office is seeking $20 million in various penalties from Insys for allegedly paying doctors thousands of dollars as rewards for writing prescriptions to treat conditions other than the drug’s approved purpose of managing the pain of cancer patients. To convince reluctant insurers to cover the costs of the prescriptions, company employees were trained to lie about why the drug was being used, the attorney general’s office alleges in legal papers filed Thursday. Insys earned more than $20 million in revenue from 3,000 prescriptions written in Maryland, according to the "statement of charges" filed with the state's consumer protection agency. An Insys spokesman said it was company policy not to comment on legal proceedings.