The state of New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against Insys over the fentanyl spray Subsys. The lawsuit alleges that Subsys caused the death of a New Jersey woman who was prescribed the opioid drug and put the lives of hundreds of other residents at risk.
In addition to the New Jersey lawsuit, Insys is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Sarah Fuller, the woman in question. Fuller died in 2015 of a fentanyl overdose caused by Subsys. The lawsuit – filed by Fuller’s parents – also targets the doctor who prescribed the drug to Sarah Fuller. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Vivienne Matalon improperly prescribed Subsys to Fuller and two other patients.
David and Deborah Fuller also allege that Insys was able to reap huge financial rewards by targeting patients like their daughter for Subsys prescriptions. According to the family’s lawsuit, Sarah Fuller paid as much as $24,000 per month over the 14 months that she was taking Subsys. The family alleges that Fuller began taking Subsys after a meeting at her doctor’s office that was orchestrated by an Insys sales representative. The Fullers also allege that Sarah Fuller was never told that Subsys and other fentanyl products were only intended for cancer patients or other patients with severe pain.
Subsys is an oral spray containing the opioid painkiller fentanyl. Because of the high potency of fentanyl – about 80-100 times stronger than morphine – Subsys and other fentanyl products are only intended for patients with severe pain, such as cancer patients. Subsys was first put on the market in 2012. The drug is the main source of profits for its manufacturer, Insys, accounting for about 98% of the company’s annual profits.
According to the New Jersey state lawsuit against Insys, the company illegally directed its sales representatives to market Subsys to doctors for patients with chronic pain. The New Jersey lawsuit also alleges that Insys submitted false claims to health insurance companies in order to increase its market share.
The New Jersey lawsuit accuses Insys of three violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and one violation of the New Jersey False Claims Act. The state is seeking the maximum penalty allowed under the law for the fraud allegations against Insys, and three times the expenses incurred by the state for the violations of the False Claims Act.
Among other allegations, the New Jersey lawsuit accuses Insys of creating false records (including fake cancer diagnoses) in order to get approvals for Subsys prescriptions and obtain reimbursement from the state. The lawsuit alleges that Insys sales reps even went so far as to hide their telephone number from benefits managers and insurers so that they wouldn’t find out the Insys employees were making telephone calls to obtain reimbursement for Subsys.
The New Jersey lawsuit against Insys comes at a time when the state is experiencing a spike in deaths caused by opioid overdoses. More than 1,000 state residents died of an opioid overdose during the first half of 2016. More than 38,000 New Jersey residents were admitted to state-licensed substance abuse programs during 2016.
If you have lost a loved one to an overdose caused by fentanyl or other opioid painkillers, the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson can help. Our law firm has filed lawsuits on behalf of hundreds of opioid overdose victims, including lawsuits against some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed more cases involving the opioid fentanyl than all other law firms in the U.S. combined. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we believe that when consumers are injured by dangerous drugs or other products, they should have the right to know that their legal interests will be fully protected by an in a court of law.
For more information about lawsuits involving fentanyl or other opioid painkillers and to find out if you qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions about your case to get started.