A development in the ongoing federal case against Insys has revealed that a former pharmaceutical sales representative who frequented the office of defendant Dr. Steven Simon was actually working with the government in a separate whistleblower case against his own employer during their contact with one another.
The recently unsealed document reveals that Torgny Andersson was one of five industry insiders who filed whistleblower complaings against Insys. According to Wagstaff & Cartmell attorney Brian Madden, who is currently representing Andersson in the case, Andersson and other insiders “[have] assisted the Department of Justice with its investigation into Insys sales practices since October of 2013.”
Illegal Kickback Scheme
Andersson’s complaint confirms federal prosecutors’ claim that Insys executives engaged in an illegal kickback scheme by explicitly instructing drug reps to pay physician speakers based on how many Subsys (an oral fentanyl spray) prescriptions they wrote—an incentive which many, like Simon, are alleged to have taken full advantage of, despite the harmful side effects Subsys has had on former patients.
Contextual details of the case also confirm that Simon was not only the top-paid Subsys speaker in Andersson’s territory of Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, but was also among the top 10 most-paid representatives nationwide, making approximately $221,000 between August 2013 to Decmeber 2015.
Simon Denies the Kickback Claim
Despite Simon’s claims that his relationship with Insys was purely professional and that no such kickback offer was extended toward him, his status as a former Insys speaker trainer and position on an Insys medical advisory board has raised suspicion of him partaking in the scheme alongside Insys founder John Kapoor and several other Insys executives.
“Sure, I heard those type of things (about kickbacks). Did Torgny ever, or did anybody in the organization ever, offer me anything like that? Absolutely not,” says Simon. “So from my own experience, my relationship with Subsys or Insys the company was virtually the same as it was with any other company I dealt with. It was professional.”
It is unclear whether Andersson’s whistleblower suit will affect the three civil cases against Simon, as Andersson was named among several Insys employees as a defendant in these cases. Kapoor has asked that civil actions against Insys be put on hold until the criminal charges are resolved, and their trial is currently scheduled to take place in January 2019.