After “Patient A” died from an overdose of the highly potent fentanyl spray Subsys, “hundreds of Subsys canister sprays were found in and around Patient A’s bedroom, bathroom, work place and vehicle,” and the Las Vegas doctor who prescribed him the drug is now facing charges of health care fraud and unlawful distribution of fentanyl, according to a federal jury indictment.
Steven Wolper, M.D., allegedly illegally prescribed Subsys to 22 patients and lied that they had cancer to insurance companies and Medicare. Subsys is a highly addictive opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat breakthrough cancer pain in patients already on 24-hour opioid therapy. While doctors have the authority to prescribe drugs for uses for which they are not approved, federal prosecutors say, “there are no off-label uses approved” for Subsys.
Wolper prescribed fentanyl to Patient A in 2014. The patient died of an overdose of fentanyl two years later after injecting leftover Subsys directly into his/her arm.
Subsys is manufactured by Insys Therapeutics. The company’s former CEO Michael Babich has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud. Five former executives of Insys are currently facing racketeering charges for allegedly paying doctors kickbacks to prescribe higher doses of Subsys to patients and for conditions for which the drug is not approved.
If convicted, Wolper faces up to 30 years in prison – 20 for illegal distribution of a controlled substance and 10 for health care fraud.
Source: Pain News Network