Florida company files insurance fraud lawsuit against Insys over ‘massive fraud scheme’ involving Subsys fentanyl sublingual spray prescriptions

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by Jim Orr

A Florida fire sprinkler company has filed a lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics, the manufacturer of the fentanyl sublingual spray Subsys, over claims that the spouse of a company employee became addicted to opioid painkillers as a result of fraudulent Insys prescriptions. The lawsuit against Insys by Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers was filed under a Florida law designed to protect consumers from fraud.

Wayne’s lawsuit against Insys alleges that the company engaged in a “massive fraud scheme and criminal enterprise to obtain money from Wayne for illegally prescribed painkillers through Wayne’s employee health insurance plan.” The company says that Insys conspired with the Florida-based Gessler Clinic and local physician Dr. Edward Lubin to prescribe Subsys to individuals covered by Wayne’s insurance plan. The lawsuit also accuses two other companies, UMR and OptumRX, of participating in the prescription scheme “with the sole motivation of financial gain including kickbacks” from Insys. Federal records indicate that Dr. Lubin received more than $100,000 in payments from Insys and other pharmaceutical companies in 2014 alone.

Insys has grown into a billion dollar company in recent years thanks largely to profits from the Subsys fentanyl spray. The company has faced numerous class action and personal injury lawsuits over accusations that it illegally marketed Subsys in violation of FDA regulations. Investigations by federal and state officials have revealed that Insys made numerous payments to doctors to promote the use of the highly addictive and dangerous drug to other physicians.

According to the lawsuit, Dr. Lubin and the Gessler Clinic “illegally prescribed Subsys to an individual [the spouse of a Wayne employee] who was covered under Wayne’s employee health insurance plan but did not have cancer, let alone breakthrough cancer pain.” Under FDA regulations, Subsys and other fentanyl products should only be prescribed to opioid-tolerant patients with severe, chronic pain, such as cancer patients. Although doctors may issue “off-label” prescriptions to patients that do not meet the FDA’s prescribing criteria, it is illegal for a drug company to promote its medications for off-label uses.

Wayne’s action against Insys was filed under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, a consumer protection law designed to protect individuals and businesses from fraud. Legal experts say that the lawsuit against Insys could help set a new precedent in how individuals and small businesses fight back against the epidemic of opioid painkiller abuse that has engulfed the U.S. in recent decades. Recent data from the CDC has found that opioid painkillers are responsible for about 19,000 fatal overdoses in the U.S. each year, due in part to the heavy marketing of these medications by the pharmaceutical industry.

In addition to the $200,000 in payments made by Wayne related to Subsys prescriptions, the company’s lawsuit also seeks to recover in excess of $75,000 in damages under Florida’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) Act. Legal experts say that because $75,000 is the minimum threshold for a lawsuit to be considered in federal court, Wayne could eventually seek a greater damage award in the case.

Fentanyl and Opioid Painkiller Lawsuits Filed by HO&P

The overprescription of prescription painkiller medications has caused disastrous consequences for patients who developed addictions or suffered overdoses due to their use of these drugs. For years, the drug industry has aggressively promoted opioid medications to physicians, regardless of the health consequences their use may have for patients. Doctors who indiscriminately prescribe these opioid medications to patients have also contributed to the growing epidemic of prescription painkiller overdoses in the U.S.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an overdose or other serious complications caused by opioid overprescription, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against manufacturer of the drug, or the doctor or hospital that was responsible for your injuries. The first step in taking legal action is to talk with a law firm with the experience and knowledge to successfully handle your case from start to finish.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are committed to helping patients and their families who have been affected by doctors or other healthcare providers who irresponsibly prescribe painkillers or other dangerous drugs to patients. Our law firm has represented numerous patients who have suffered complications from opioid painkillers.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson has filed more lawsuits on behalf of victims of fentanyl overdose than all other law firms in the country combined. In the very first jury trial filed by our attorneys against a fentanyl pain patch manufacturer, a jury awarded a $5.5 million verdict to the family of a Florida man who died while wearing a fentanyl pain patch sold under the brand name Duragesic. More recently, our firm obtained a $16,560,000 judgment against two subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson on behalf of the family of an Illinois woman who died while wearing a fentanyl pain patch.

If you or a loved one has suffered an overdose or other complications resulting from opioid painkiller medications, the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are ready to help. For more information about prescription painkiller lawsuits and to learn whether you may be eligible to file a case, contact our law firm by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form located at the top of this page and answering a few simple questions to get started.