Huffing Post reports on Insys Therapeutics donating a huge amount of money in support of a committee which opposes legalization of marijuana in Arizona.
Insys donates $500,000 to fight cannabis legalization in Arizona.
Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP), the political action committee opposing Proposition 205, which would legalize recreational marijuana, received a donation of $500,000 from Insys Therapeutics, producers of Subsys, an oral spray of fentanyl.
Some reports hold fentanyl solely responsible for the over-prescription and abuse that gave rise to the current opioid crisis.
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Cannabis a far less harmful substance
J.P. Holyoak, chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said in a statement that a company using profits from selling one of the most potent and dangerous opioids on the market is preventing adults from using a far less harmful substance.
This action is seen as an act to pad their profit margins; marijuana is a much cheaper and safer option to the drugs that Insys and other Big Pharma companies sell, argue the activists.
They said they were shocked that their opponents accepted a donation from such an unscrupulous member of the Big Pharma fraternity. Insys has been under investigation for illegally marketing Subsys, and was sued by the state of Illinois for allegedly marketing the product to physicians for “off-label” use, which means the FDA does not approve the uses Insys suggested. The company’s sales tactics also came under the magnifying glass in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Oregon and Arizona.
Drop in revenue
The Arizona-based firm has recently seen a drop in revenue from Sybsys, and went from $148 million in 2015’s first half to $129 million in 2016’s first half according to the SEC filing. The drop was blamed on a 27.7% decrease in Subsys sales, which it claimed were due to a price increase.
Most potent and dangerous opioid
In an interview with CNBC, Dr. Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, describes fentanyl, a powerful painkiller used in Subsys, as the most potent and dangerous opioid on the market.
The U.S. is experiencing an opioid epidemic. More than 28,000 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2014. Most fatalities came from the use of drugs such as heroin, but the largest increase in deaths by overdose was due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
Prince, the celebrated musician is probably the most recent famous person who overdosed on fentanyl. Insys is also developing a synthetic cannabis product to improve on a product they discontinued, which was sold in the past.
Financial and lawmakers back cannabis opposition
Apart from great financial backing the ARDP is also enjoying the backing of top lawmakers in the state including Gov. Doug Ducey (R). Other donors include the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which contributed $50,000. Empire Southwest LLC also contributed $50,000, and Pima Medical Institute gave $40,000 over the last year as stated in the latest campaign finance report.
ARDP campaign manager, Adam Deguire, told U.S. News & World Report the donation won’t be returned to Insys, as they are an Arizona based company, whereas the Marijuana Policy Project is based in Washington, D.C.
Location is less important than motive according to Barrett Marson, communications director of Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. He says Insys is obviously not worried about the prohibition of cannabis, but is concerned about profit. Registered voters in Arizona favored passing Prop. 205 by a 10-point margin according to an Arizona Republic poll at the end of August.
Medical marijuana was legalized in 2010 in Arizona, but recreational use still receives heavy criminal penalties.
Cannabis for pain
No one who uses medical cannabis for pain has ever died of an overdose. The Huffington Post questions Insys’ motivation for its donation. The logic seems sound. Kill the potential new painkiller that may take your business away! What’s your opinion?