The Maryland attorney general’s office on Thursday accused the manufacturer of a powerful fentanyl spray of violating consumer protection laws thousands of times by engaging in a “deceptive scheme” to buy the help of doctors and deceive insurance companies to boost sales.

The attorney general’s office is seeking $20 million in various penalties from Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics for allegedly paying doctors thousands of dollars as rewards for writing prescriptions to treat conditions other than the drug’s approved purpose of managing the pain of cancer patients.

The money was supposedly for speaking engagements that the attorney general’s office alleges were often alcohol-fueled social events held at bars, strip clubs and private hotel rooms.

To convince reluctant insurers to cover the costs of the prescriptions, company employees were trained to lie about why the drug was being used, the attorney general’s office alleges in legal papers filed Thursday.

Insys reaped more than $20 million in revenue from 3,000 prescriptions written in Maryland, according to the “statement of charges” filed with the state’s consumer protection agency.

Read the full article on the Baltimore Sun’s website by clicking here.