Kevin Dooley

Drugmaker Funding AZ Prohibitionists Worried Legalization Will Limit Product Success

According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Insys — the drug maker that donated $500,000 to the anti-legalization campaign in Arizona — the company is openly concerned that cannabis legalization would “significantly limit the commercial success” of a product called Dronabinol Oral Solution currently being developed by the Pheonix-based company.

“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,” the filing reads.

Dronabinol is a synthetic version of THC, FDA-approved to alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. In the filing, the company admits that scientific literature argues that natural cannabis is more beneficial than its synthetic counterparts, and calls cannabis legalization a competition threat.

In addition to dronabinol, Insys produces a fenatyl sublingual spray — an opioid 50 times stronger than heroin which elicited national headlines when it was linked to the death of Prince earlier this year.

In states with legal cannabis, doctors prescribe an average of 1,826 fewer doses of opioid-based painkiller per year, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

The recipients of the war chest donation, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, indicated they would not return the money to the pharmaceutical company. Campaign manager Adam Deguire defended the decision to keep the funds, saying Insys’ products are FDA approved, while cannabis remains federally outlawed.    

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