In Middlesex County Superior Court, a wrongful death suit was filed against a drug company that was connected to a plot to give kickbacks to physicians who prescribed its strong opioid drug. The plaintiffs are the parents of Sarah Fuller, who died at age 32 in March 2016 after she took Subsys, the company’s liquid form of fentanyl. They sued Insys Therapeutic of Chandler, Arizona. The other defendants in the suit are Vivienne Matalon, a doctor from Cherry Hill who gave Ms. Fuller a prescription for the drug, and Linden Care of Woodbury, NY, a specialty pharmacy that furnished her with the drug.
In December 2016, six prior executives of Insys faced indictments by the U.S. Attorney in Boston on charges that they headed a scheme to entice physicians to give prescriptions for Subsys without any medical necessity. On October 2, 2016, Dr. Matalon faced a temporary suspension from the practice of medicine, while she was awaiting the result of a complaint alleging that she gave off-label prescriptions for Subsys to Ms. Fuller and two more patients.
According to the wrongful death suit, Dr. Matalon prescribed Ms. Fuller Subsys to be used for the treatment of her back pain and fibromyalgia in a meeting in which an Insys sales representative was present. The sales representative was present in order to persuade Ms. Fuller that Subsys would be advantageous in the treatment of her neck and back pain. The sales representative made several false claims to Ms. Fuller and her father concerning the risks of taking the drug.
Subsys has received approval only to treat pain in cancer patients. However, Ms. Fuller was not suffering from cancer. Dr. Matalon prescribed Subsys to Ms. Fuller for 14 months, and gave her the last prescription just eight days prior to her demise. As stated in the Board of Medical Examiners complaint, the postmortem toxicology examination indicated that there were considerable amounts of fentanyl metabolites in Ms. Fuller’s blood at the time that she died.
If your loved one lost his or her life due to the negligence of another person or entity, call the wrongful death attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC.