Insys Therapeutics: How Big Pharma Is Hindering Legalization

As is true with every type of legislation passed, there will always be supporters and those who oppose. And there is nothing wrong with that! Our freedom of speech gives us the right choose what we will and will not support, given our values and beliefs. However, it is also true that, with legislation, there are special interest groups who support or oppose for reasons other than their principles. Case in point: Insys Therapeutics Inc. 

Insys is a company that makes an oral spray, containing the drug you may have been hearing about recently: Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous opioid compound, which experts estimate is about 80 times more potent than morphine. The overdose rate from this drug has risen, with half of all recorded drug overdoses in 2015 being form Fentanyl alone. But the question is: why does this company care if cannabis is legalized? The company claimed they were “doing it for the children” and trying to keep Arizona safe from drugs; a bit of an ironic notion given the opioid epidemic plaguing the state. However, a look at their investor filings reveal something else: the legalization of cannabis poses a direct threat to the company’s plan to cash in on a synthetic cannabis product that they have been developing. Insys filed an SEC disclosure statement that clearly illustrates their intentions:

Legalization of marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids in the United States could significantly limit the commercial success of any dronabinol product candidate. … If marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids were legalized in the United States, the market for dronabinol product sales would likely be significantly reduced and our ability to generate revenue and our business prospects would be materially adversely affected.

So far, in Arizona, Insys has donated $500,000 towards the fight against legal cannabis, making them the largest donor to defeat the ballot measure. We as voters need to be aware of the forces that act behind the scenes who seek to disrupt what we have worked so hard for. Every person has the right to oppose something that they don’t agree with, but when special interest groups are able to influence policy for ulterior motives, it undermines the efforts of American citizens to adopt policies that they believe in