Arizona recreational marijuana foe accused of fraud

A company that contributed half a million dollars to help defeat recreational marijuana legalization in Arizona last year is now in the crosshairs of the state’s attorney general, who has accused the company of deceptive practices to bolster sales of an opioid product.

Insys Therapeutics – which gave $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy during the 2016 election cycle – is guilty of widespread fraud in support of a spray form of the opioid fentanyl, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has alleged in a lawsuit against the Chandler-based company, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Of the nine states that voted on marijuana reforms in 2016, only Arizona failed to approve the measure. The initiative would have legalized recreational cannabis.

Insys “lied to insurers, concealed key facts from doctors and patients, and paid doctors sham ‘speaker fees’ in exchange for writing prescriptions, all in order to increase the sales of Subsys,” Brnovich told the Capitol Times.

Brnovich is asking an Arizona judge “to block Insys and its employees from engaging in unfair, deceptive or misleading acts,” the Times reported.

That action could compel Insys “to both pay restitution to consumers who should never have been prescribed the drug as well as force the company to surrender all of its profits” from Subsys.