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Money, Recognition And Dark Chocolate: How To Sell Doctors On Prescribing Powerful Painkillers

Two former sales reps pleaded guilty to violating the federal anti-kickback law in bribing doctors to prescribe Subsys. A look at the case shows how companies can get doctors to do their bidding.

Stat: Former Insys Reps Plead Guilty To Bribing Docs For Opioid Prescribing; They Wanted 'Money' And 'Dark Chocolate'
Two former sales reps pleaded guilty on Tuesday to bribing doctors in exchange for prescribing the powerful Subsys painkiller sold by Insys Therapeutics, which is under numerous investigations by state and federal authorities for its role in the opioid epidemic. In both instances, the sales reps pleaded guilty to violating the federal anti-kickback law for participating in a speaker program that prosecutors say was used to reward doctors and other medical practitioners for prescribing Subsys, which contains fentanyl and carries a high risk of dependency. (Silverman, 7/12)

In other news on the opioid epidemic —

The Associated Press: Doctor Accused In Deaths Of At Least 7 In Oklahoma, Texas
A Texas doctor wrote unnecessary prescriptions for powerful drugs that contributed to the overdose deaths of at least seven people over a four-year period, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday. Howard Gregg Diamond, 56, was arrested Tuesday on charges that include conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and health care fraud. (7/12)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ Wolf Hails New Program In Opioid Treatment
Gov. Wolf on Wednesday joined Clarion University officials to announce the launch of an online certificate program in opioid treatment, which they said is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. “Education is a powerful thing,” Wolf said at a news conference at the Capitol. “Armed with facts, health-care providers, drug counselors, EMTs, school counselors, therapists, anyone interested in learning more will be able to take this online course.” In 2015, 3,500 Pennsylvanians died of drug overdoses, Wolf said. He said it appears that the toll in 2016 was even higher. (Langley, 7/12)

The Associated Press: Palm Beach County Considers Suing Drug Companies
At the suggestion of a Palm Beach County Commissioner, the county is looking into suing drug companies whose products are at the heart of the opioid crisis. The Palm Beach Post reports the county attorney will have her staff examine the legal landscape to determine if pharmaceutical companies have been successfully sued, which jurisdictions have been involved and what law firms have taken on the work. (7/12)

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