Kate Tasker
Kate Tasker
Kate is the director of the Industry Documents Library.

New Documents Reveal How Fentanyl Promotion Helped Drive Opioid Epidemic

One million pages of records from Insys Therapeutics have been added to the Opioid Industry Documents Archive (OIDA). The documents stem from litigation against the Arizona-based company, which specialized in drugs to treat cancer pain. The FDA had approved Subsys, a fast-acting and highly potent opioid painkiller, only to treat pain in cancer patients already receiving around-the-clock opioid therapy.

The newest additions to the Insys Litigation Documents collection totals about 760,000 documents (mostly emails). These documents show that Insys improperly sold vast amounts of its addictive product for off-label uses like non-cancer neck and back pain. They also bring to light how Insys pressured doctors and deployed deceptive marketing to increase sales and earn millions of dollars in profits.

The addition of the Insys documents will expand the Archive’s collection to more than 2.2 million opioid industry documents. UCSF and Johns Hopkins launched the OIDA in March 2021 as a free public resource. The digital repository includes publicly disclosed documents arising from litigation brought against opioid manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and consultants by local and state governments and tribal communities. The Archive may be of use to many different parties, including families harmed by the opioid crisis, the media, health care practitioners, students, lawyers and researchers.

The documents are full-text searchable and include an array of relevant materials from different companies. Types of documents include company emails, memos, presentations, sales reports, budgets, audit reports, Drug Enforcement Administration briefings, meeting agendas and minutes, expert witness reports and trial transcripts.

Access the Opioid Industry Documents Archive


Press releases

December 8, 2022: Archive Shows How Fentanyl Promotion Helped Drive Opioid Epidemic via UCSF News, via Johns Hopkins University News.

The document release coincides with the USA Today investigation published December 8, 2022. The article details the role of Insys Therapeutics in the opioid epidemic. ‘Eat what you kill’: How a fentanyl drugmaker bribed doctors, harmed patients and collected millions.