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Cannabis Doesn't Ruin Lives, Big Pharma Does - Mushroomstocks | Mushroomstocks
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Cannabis Doesn’t Ruin Lives, Big Pharma Does

Apr 27, 2017 • 11:27 AM EDT
Big Pharma.png
2 MIN READ  •  By Michael Berger
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Although pharmaceutical companies have the most to lose from the legalization of marijuana, no company has taken it as far as Insys Therapeutics (INSY); the company responsible for developing and oversubscribing a fentanyl spray that resulted in hundreds of deaths and overdoses.

In 2016, the disgraced pharmaceutical company donated $500,000 to promote opposition to Arizona’s recreational marijuana ballot initiative.

11 Execs Arrested for Overprescribing and Kickback Schemes

Last year, 11 former executives and managers were arrested and charged with conspiring to defraud health insurers and bribe doctors in exchange for prescribing Subsys. Several physicians who received speaking fees from Insys were also disciplined or arrested for their role in the scheme.

Insys’ ex-CEO Michael Babich was arrested and charged as part of the scandal. As CEO, he sold more than $30 million worth of INSY stock and was paid more than $10 million in accelerated stock options and cash as part of his severance package.

Heather Alfonso was arrested for her part in the scheme. In 2012, she was among the top 10 Schedule II prescribers in the country. In 2013, Alfonso was the top prescriber in Connecticut, writing $2.7 million in prescriptions. Insys also paid her about $1,000 per event to speak at more than 70 dinner programs.

In 2015, Dr. Gavin Awerbuch was also arrested after federal prosecutors said he defrauded Medicare of $7 million and improperly prescribed Subsys to patients. Dr. Jerrold Rosenberg, was also reprimanded for inappropriately prescribing Subsys and other painkillers.

Pill Mills are the Real Problem

Painkillers have become a serious issue in the United States. During the past 15 years, there has been tremendous growth in both the sales of prescription opiates and the number of people who die each year from abusing them.

After Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly addressed the current war on drugs and said that cannabis was “not a factor” in the United States’ current fight against narcotics. Kelly quickly reversed his stance and the next day said that marijuana is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.

Support for Cannabis Has Never Been Stronger

Although the federal government still does not recognize any legitimate use for cannabis, support has never been stronger.

In February, a Quinnipiac Poll found that 93% of respondents support medical cannabis. In March, a Marist Poll showed that 83% of respondents support medical cannabis.

Congress needs to take action and legalize medical cannabis at the Federal level. There is ample evidence supporting the medical benefits of cannabis and now it is time for Congress to act on this information and do what is right for the people!


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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners, LLC and Founder of Mushroomstocks.com. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Michael was an Equity Research Analyst at Raymond James Financial covering the Energy Sector. Michael has been featured in publications such as The Street, Bloomberg, US Money News, and hosts various cannabis events across North America.


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