Contact: Michael P. Rainboth, Esquire
439 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
SERIAL PRESCRIBER AND DRUG COMPANY SUED FOR FENTANYL KICKBACK SCHEME
The law offices of Attorney Michael P. Rainboth in Portsmouth, New Hampshire announced today that his office has brought a lawsuit against Christopher Clough, PA and Dr. O’Connell’s Pain Care Centers, Inc. and Insys Therapeutics, Inc. for medical negligence and violation of New Hampshire’s Consumer Protection Act against a Somersworth, New Hampshire PainCare clinic and Physician Assistant, Christopher Clough, and the drug company which manufactures the powerful Fentanyl spray product called Subsys.
The lawsuit alleges that a patient of PainCare, Mackenzie Colby, was prescribed Subsys, a Fentanyl spray containing the powerful opioid pain medication, classified as a Schedule II controlled substance for chronic lower back pain.
In January, 2012, the FDA approved Subsys for the limited use of breakthrough cancer pain in patients 18 years of age or older who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioid therapy for persistent cancer pain.
The lawsuit is based upon investigations conducted by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Those investigations revealed that Christopher Clough as an employee of PainCare prescribed more than 760 Subsys prescriptions from 2013 to 2014, representing 84% of the Subsys prescriptions written in New Hampshire. Additionally, Clough was paid a total of $44,000.00 for speaking at “sham events” on behalf of Insys. These events were attended by Clough’s coworkers, friends and family members and not potential prescribers of Subsys.
In 2014, the New Hampshire Board of Medicine brought a disciplinary action against Clough for his inappropriate prescribing practices. In 2015, the Board of Medicine banned Clough from treating chronic pain patients. In December, 2016, the Board revoked Clough’s medical license to work as a physician assistant.
Mackenzie Colby alleges in her lawsuit that Clough prescribed Subsys for her describing it as a “miracle drug” that would alleviate her chronic back pain and migraines. Clough never explained to Ms. Colby that Fentanyl was a highly addictive opioid which was much stronger than heroin and morphine and was highly addictive. Clough continuously increased the dose of Subsys over the course of the next year and Ms. Colby became dependent and highly addicted to the Fentanyl spray.
The lawsuit alleges that Clough abruptly terminated Ms. Colby’s prescription in November, 2014 for Subsys when he was notified that he was under investigation by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine for his improper prescription practices. The lawsuit further alleges that Clough refused to provide any assistance to Ms. Colby for relief of extreme withdrawal symptoms and that he failed to provide her with any other medication to treat withdrawal from opioids or to refer her to any other pain management clinic or facility to treat opioid dependency and withdrawal.
In January, 2017, Insys agreed to pay the State of New Hampshire a $2.95 million dollar settlement for its involvement in the bribery scheme and its collective violations of the Consumer Protection Act.
On December 8, 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, announced that six pharmaceutical executives employed by Insys Therapeutics, Inc. were arrested on charges that they lead a nationwide conspiracy to bribe medical practitioners to unnecessarily prescribe the Fentanyl spray medication known as Subsys.