Did the Pharmaceutical Industry Kill Prince?

Prince Covers After His Death from a Fentanyl Overdose
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Prince Covers After His Death from a Fentanyl Overdose
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Image by @DrGarcia (CC by 2.0)

Nobody knew that Prince was an addict.  Then again, the drug Prince was taking — Fentanyl — was totally legal.  Now, federal investigators are looking into the practices of a pharmaceuticals company selling that very drug.

It was a sad day in America, and it could have been prevented.  Prince, an icon of modern pop music, passed away from a massive opioid overdose.  The world quickly learned that Prince was addicted to Fentanyl, one of the most powerful drugs in the world.  Yet that drug, which is 50 times more powerful than heroine, is completely legal with a prescription.

Fentanyl not only killed Prince, it has also killed tens of thousands of others.  But who are the pharmaceutical companies pushing Fentanyl on addicted users?

Now, federal investigators are looking into one of the leading companies that distributes Fentanyl in the United States.  In an investigatory piece published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, serious questions were asked of Insys Therapeutics, Inc.  That’s the world’s top manufacturer of a variant of Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that makes heroine look like aspirin.  And yet, it’s 100% legal.

Already, two doctors over-prescribing the drug have been arrested.  Alabama doctors John Couch and Xiulu Ruan sold a combined $4.9 million of fentanyl brand ‘Subsys’ in just two years, with massive kickbacks alleged from Insys.  “Insys, based in Chandler, Ariz., went to unusual lengths to keep these high-prescribing doctors happy,” the Journal noted.

Enter Insys billionaire CEO John Kapoor, who is now being accused of bribing doctors to massively over-prescribe the killer opioid.  Smaller doses were advanced to bigger doses.  Greater frequency and higher costs quickly followed.  Insurers were handed lies about prospective patients to grant approvals.

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Paisley Park, where Prince was found dead.

It was a great strategy for making money, but also killing victims like Prince.

And all the while, fueling a growing black market for people to get the drug without a prescription.  In fact, the statistics show that nearly 30,000 people die from Fentanyl overdoses a year, with every dose moving through a doctor’s office at some point.

Prince wasn’t specifically mentioned in the report.  And at this late stage, it remains unclear where the singer sourced his drugs.  No arrests have been made, though a network of friends using bogus prescriptions has been alleged.  That suggests a rampant culture of over-prescribing, with little-to-no scrutiny of actual conditions.

Insys says its hands are clean, and denies bribing the doctors in question.  But the Wall Street Journal outlined a cynical plan to push massive amounts of drugs to unwitting victims, most of whom plunged into addiction.   Most weren’t late-stage cancer patients, the intended target of the drug.  “Just a handful of doctors, many with close ties to Insys, are responsible for outsize levels of prescribing of Subsys,” the Journal wrote, citing government databases, court documents and employee interviews.

“Of the top 20 physician-prescribers of Subsys to Medicare patients in 2014, more than half were also among the 20 largest recipients of consulting and other fees from Insys that year, a Journal analysis of recently released federal data shows.”



8 Responses

  1. jackyy33

    First they claim this was then first time it was in his system,now they claim he had an addiction.there is a difference between the two now which is it.I read he was preparing a wil and someone noticed they weren’t part of the wil and knocked him off.

  2. Paul Resnikoff

    How can you guys claim this? You think Prince just took one injection and that was that? I don’t think this was Prince’s first time riding that horse.

    • 3121


      You are purposely ignoring the article I have linked from the associated press. The medical examiner has ruled his death an accidental overdose due to the fact that test Prince took the day before his death did not show any Fentanyl in his system. If he was a Fentenyl addict why would he have none in his system just the day before? The pills he took were mislabeled and was filled with many different substances with enough Fentenyl to kill a whale. The pills were labeled Watson 355 which is a mild pain killer that was discontinued back in Oct 2015 meaning the pill he thought he was taking would have been expired and not very powerful.

      I love how you have made an accusation that it not substantiated by the medical examiner and did not acknowledge that this is now a homicide investigation that is still open.
      I also love how you and the rest of the media always ignore that Prince was seeing a doctor for outpatient care for withdrawals something that has been known from the very beginning. I don’t know too many ragging drug addicts who want to get off pain meds but plenty of people in actual pain do. We know he had hip surgery in 2010 and by common sense and reason probably was originally prescribed pain meds which apparently he was handling well since virtually no one has reported every seeing him high or out of control. I don’t know can people strung on drugs finish 7 projects in two years recording most of the music himself and tour? He told the promoter of the Atlanta show that he was going to see his doctor when he got back home and fellow band mates have said he told them he was not feeling at 100% and wanted to check with his doctor. Do junkies usually want to check with their doctors about their health or do people under a doctor’s care who are trying to get better want to check with a doctor?

      Go ahead and continue to use his death as a means of getting hits on your site without actually stating the facts. I wish the media was interested in who killed Prince instead of using his death to make money.
      Oh and Paul the report from the Medical Examiner did not show one mark on his body kind of hard to shoot up anything with no marks.

      • Paul Fukoff

        Spot-on comment. Fentanyl isn’t manufactured in pill form by anybody but illicit manufacturers, so why is INSYS even mentioned? I’d ask who writes this horseshit, but apparently his name is Paul Resnickoff.