CEO of Opioid Company that Funded Arizona’s Anti-Pot Campaign Charged with Bribing Doctors

by Mother Mags –

Can you say hypocrisy?

Of all the states that had marijuana propositions on the ballot this year, either legalization or medical weed, only Arizona rejected the measure. The state passed a medical pot referendum in 2010, and Prop 205 was an initiative similar to Colorado’s decriminalization law. Until a few weeks before the election it appeared 205 would pass by about 10 points.

Then a well-funded anti-205 campaign kicked into gear, with 24/7 TV commercials and state officials, including the governor, attorney general, and other GOP leaders, going on their Reefer Madness tour (the Democratic Party supported 205). The TV spots said Colorado’s experience with legal pot was terrible: schools didn’t get the money they were promised and many more students were getting high.

All of it was a lie. The fear-mongering ads were so dishonest that Colorado legislators sent a letter to Arizona’s anti-205 officials telling them to quit lying about Colorado. The truth is schools there received more money than was anticipated, and teens smoke weed at about the same rate as the rest of the nation, even a bit less.

The anti-205 campaign, whose Orwellian name was Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, spent over $5 million on ads and events, so where did the millions of dollars come from? Not surprisingly, industries whose bottom line might be affected by legal weed, particularly alcohol and pharmaceuticals, stepped up to the plate. Gov. Doug Ducey and his cronies took gobs of cash from companies pushing products that can devastate families: addiction, high costs, even death.

I’m a victim. After spinal surgery several years ago those “pain management” fuckers had me on a strong opioid for more than six months, never making an attempt to wean me from it. “Here’s a script, get a pill.” I was absolutely addicted and watched my bank account and peace of mind wither away. Then my doc suggested medical pot and within a month I was off the pills.

The company that made the opioid I was hooked on could’ve been Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona manufacturer of fentanyl, a painkiller that’s much stronger than heroin. Clearly, if more people had the same experience I did using weed to control pain their profit margin would suffer. So Insys Therapeutics donated $500,000 to the anti-205 campaign, saying they opposed legalization “because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.” Yeah, sure, that’s your big concern — nothing to do with profits.

Gov. Ducey and other prohibitionist lugheads were more than happy to take money from a company that sells addictive, deadly drugs in order to defeat legislation that would legalize a plant that’s never killed anyone.

The rate of absolutely zero deaths from a marijuana overdose remained steady from last year according to figures released this month by the Centers for Disease Control.

The same can’t be said of the products made by Insys Therapeutics:

The number of deaths from overdoses of illicit opioids rose sharply again in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

“The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. “Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems.”

Overdose deaths (9,580) from synthetic opioids, most of them fentanyl related, skyrocketed by 73%.

Not only is Insys Therapeutics a greedy, hypocritical company whose products kill people, it’s also running an illegal scam, according to today’s New York Times:

Federal prosecutors brought racketeering charges on Thursday against several former executives of Insys Therapeutics, a small Arizona drug company, saying they were part of a scheme that involved aggressive sales of the powerful and highly addictive pain drug fentanyl.

Turns out six employees, including CEO Michael Babich and other top executives, offered kickbacks and bribes to doctors so they would prescribe Subsys, a spray form of fentanyl used by cancer patients. Read the NYT article, it’s sickening what these low-life scumbags did in order to make a buck.

Our governor and other top Republican officials think it’s just hunky dory to get in bed with criminals who addict people to their expensive, deadly drugs. Meanwhile, unless you have a medical card, it remains a felony to smoke weed in Arizona.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos