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Maryland AG says Insys used 'deceptive' trade practices for opioid drug

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said Insys Therapeutics Inc. violated the Consumer Protection Act due to "unfair and deceptive trade practices" for its opioid drug Subsys.

The state's Consumer Protection Division claimed in a statement of charges that the company marketed Subsys to patients for off-label uses, despite the drug being approved only to treat cancer-related pain.

The off-label uses, which included knee pain, back pain and migraine, accounted for more than 90% of the drug's total prescription in the state, according to a Sept. 6 news release from the attorney general's office.

In addition, the division claims Chandler, Ariz.-based Insys instituted a scheme, paying prescribers "tens of thousands of dollars" as inducements to prescribe Subsys to their patients.

The state officials alleged that the drugmaker's representatives had inappropriate sexual or other intimate relationships with prescribers while encouraging them to write prescriptions for the opioid drug.

Insys was also charged with instructing its employees to misrepresent diagnoses to obtain reimbursements from the insurance companies for Subsys prescriptions.

Frosh's Consumer Protection Division asked the court to order Insys to cease and desist these practices, return all revenue from the illegal prescription of Subsys and pay costs and civil penalties for each violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

Insys earned more than $20 million in Maryland through its illegal activities, the Attorney General's office said in the news release.

The state had previously filed a motion to enforce a subpoena in connection with the investigation, adding that Insys was resisting requests to provide documents related to the probe.

Insys, which is being sued by multiple states for its illegal marketing practices for Subsys, had denied the allegations and called the motion's content inaccurate.

The company recently agreed to pay $150 million as part of an agreement to settle a probe by the U.S. Justice Department over the sales practices of its former employees.