Senator Claire McCaskill is investigating a pharmaceutical company known as Insys Therapeutics. McCaskill recently released a report about some of her findings about the company, and the most disturbing part involves a representative for the company lying to a patient so she would take a more powerful drug. That patient ended up overdosing.
Sarah Fuller went to a doctor's office in January 2015 to see if there was a medication that would help her head and neck pain she developed after two car accidents. Her father says a pharmaceutical rep from Insys did most of the talking, and pushed her to take a drug that contains fentanyl. Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous opioids, and is believed to be 50 times more dangerous than heroin. In Pennsylvania alone, fentanyl is believed to cause more than 2,000 overdoses each year. Doctors are only allowed to prescribe fentanyl to cancer patients.
In a audio recording, the drug rep is heard calling a pharmacy manager to get Fuller's prescription fulfilled. He implies that Fuller needs the prescription for cancer-related pain, even though that wasn't true. The drug prescribed to Fuller costs $20,000 per month
15 months after she began taking the prescribed opioid, she was found unresponsive in her home. Fentanyl was found in her system.
The doctor who prescribed the medication has had his license suspended. And Insys is facing a lawsuit over Fuller's death.
For all the talk about the opioid crisis in America, we can't forget that unless something is done that force pharmaceutical companies from prescribing these dangerous medications, it's unlikely anything will change.