Biotech firm Insys Therapeutics shares drop as sales-practice concerns resurface

SUBSYS image from video

Shares of Insys Therapeutics dropped about 8 percent Monday amid renewed concerns over the pharmaceutical company’s sales practices.

NBC News, citing a whistleblower, reported that Subsys — an addictive painkiller 100 times more powerful than morphine used to treat “breakthrough” cancer pain — had been prescribed to patients who shouldn’t have received it.

“It was absolutely genius,” Patty Nixon, a former Insys sales representative, told NBC. “It was wrong, but it was genius.”

Entering Monday’s session, Insys shares had risen more than 53 percent, handily outperforming the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB), which had gained about 12 percent.

Insys Therapeutics in 2017

Source: FactSet

Insys has been the subject of several state and federal investigations over the sales and marketing practices of Subsys since December 2013, according to the firm’s latest 10-Q filing.

The filing also showed that two Alabama health-care professionals working with Insys’ programs “designed to educate and promote product awareness and safety for external health care providers” were charged and convicted on 19 of 20 charges brought against them earlier this year. The charges were related to drug conspiracy, health-care fraud and money laundering.

In a statement released Monday, Insys said it reiterates its commitment to “maintaining the highest ethical standards and compliance around all its activities and business practices and complying with governing laws and regulations.”