What We're Reading: Former Insys CEO Arrested in Fentanyl-Prescribing Scheme

What we’re reading, December 9, 2016: insurers haven’t taken advantage of 2011 Georgia law allowing interstate policy sales; 6 former executives of Insys Therapeutics arrested for fraudulently boosting sales of their fentanyl drug; with a month left in the year, 2016 has already seen decade-high mumps outbreaks.

Republican lawmakers have proposed allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines as a potential strategy if the Affordable Care Act is repea, but a trial of that idea in one state hasn’t yielded any results, according to Kaiser Health News. Insurers in Georgia can sell any policies they offer in other states to enrollees in Georgia, but no health insurer has taken advantage of it since the law was passed in 2011. It remains unclear whether a federal law allowing interstate insurance sales would be more successful.

The Department of Justice has announced the arrest of the former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, along with 5 other executives, for leading a “nationwide conspiracy” that bribed clinicians to prescribe the fentanyl-based painkiller Subsys. Prosecutors charged the executives with providing kickbacks to practitioners who wrote large quantities of Subsys prescriptions and defrauding the insurance companies paying for the drug. “In doing so, they contributed to the growing opioid epidemic and placed profit before patient safety,” said special agent Harold H. Shaw in the press release.

CDC data indicate that 2016 has already had the highest number of mumps cases since 2006, due in part to outbreaks on college campuses, The Wall Street Journal reports. As of November 26, 3832 mumps cases had been identified, almost triple last year’s total of 1329. This year, 6 states (Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma) reported more than 100 cases of mumps each.