Pushing opioids. Bribing doctors. Making millions. FRONTLINE and the Financial Times investigate how Insys Therapeutics profited from a fentanyl-based painkiller up to 100 times stronger than morphine — and how some Wall Street investors looked the other way.
“Opioids, Inc.” tells the inside story of how Insys profited from Subsys, a fast-acting fentanyl-based spray that’s been linked to hundreds of deaths. Tactics included targeting high-prescribing doctors and nurse practitioners known as “whales,” misleading insurers, and holding contests for the sales team: the higher the prescription doses they got doctors to write, the larger the cash prize — despite the dangers to patients. But as the documentary traces in unprecedented detail, the scheme fell apart: With federal prosecutors using anti-racketeering laws designed to fight organized crime, Insys became the first pharmaceutical company to have its CEO sentenced to prison time in federal court in connection with the opioid crisis.