Insys Therapeutics faked cancer patients in order to boost sales of its drug Subsys, a sprayable form of the opioid painkiller fentanyl, according to a federal indictment and ongoing congressional investigation by Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Subsys was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012 to treat acute pain in cancer patients. But the drug's high cost meant most insurers wouldn't pay for it unless it was approved in advance, CNN reported.
In order to increase sales, it's alleged that Insys took patients who didn't have cancer and made it look like they did. Methods included falsifying medical records, misleading insurance companies and providing kickbacks to doctors, according to a report released Wednesday by McCaskill's office. McCaskill is a Democrat from Missouri.
In a statement provided to CNN on Wednesday, Insys said it disagreed with "certain characterizations in the staff report released today."
Late last year, federal prosecutors criminally charged the company's former CEO and five other executives with fraud and racketeering charges related to Subsys.
Other federal charges have also been brought against individuals connected to the drug, and several state attorneys general have filed lawsuits of their own, CNN reported.