WASHINGTON – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, who last week released the first report in her comprehensive investigation into opioid manufacturers and distributors, held a roundtable today detailing sales and marketing tactics of Insys Therapeutics and opioid manufacturers generally.
Click HERE for photos from today’s roundtable.
“Our national opioid epidemic is complex—but one explanation for this crisis is simple: pure greed,” McCaskill said. “And so I will continue to investigate the business practices at the root of this epidemic and whether they continue today. Because it will be of great value to policymakers—and to all Americans—to know more about the risk of opioid manufacturers fostering addiction when boosting their bottom line.”
Participating in the roundtable was the mother of Sarah Fuller, who died from an alleged overdose of the powerful opioid Subsys. McCaskill’s report includes a transcript of an audio recording of an Insys employee’s conversations in which she repeatedly misled Envision Pharmaceutical Services to obtain approval for Sarah Fuller’s Subsys treatment—heavily implying she was employed by the prescribing physician and misrepresenting the type of pain the patient was experiencing. Other witnesses included former servicemember Jeffrey Buchalter; Insys allegedly paid his doctor over $34,000 as part of its “speakers program” after which Mr. Buchalter was prescribed inappropriate doses of Subsys; University of Missouri School of Medicine Professor Emeritus Dr. David A. Fleming and Georgetown University Medical Center Associate Professor Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman.
McCaskill launched her opioids investigation, the most comprehensive Congressional investigation into the crisis to date, in March when she requested information related to sales and marketing materials, internal addiction studies, details on compliance with government settlements and donations to third party advocacy groups from major opioid manufacturers. She recently expanded her investigation, requesting documents and information from opioid manufacturers Mallinckrodt, Endo, Teva, and Allergan, while a request to McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and Cardinal Health, Inc., focused on their distribution of opioid products.