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Caught: Pharma rep lies to get opioid tied to Cherry Hill death

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Deborah Fuller is clear about what she will tell Sen. Claire McCaskill next week about the pharmaceutical industry’s role in her daughter’s overdose last year:

“Basically, you know, they set her up to die.”

She will say this in Washington on Tuesday because she has proof: a 2015 audio recording of a drug industry representative pretending to work for the Cherry Hill doctor who was treating Sarah Fuller. On the recording, the rep can be heard misrepresenting Sarah’s diagnosis so that she could receive one of the most powerful and deadly opioids on the market. The motivation? This drug, approved only for cancer patients, costs over $20,000 a month. In Sarah Fuller’s case, the bill to taxpayers came to more than a quarter-million dollars, since she was disabled and covered by Medicare.

Richard Hollawell, a personal-injury attorney in Marlton, obtained the audio recording from Envision in response to a subpoena for a civil suit he filed against Insys on behalf of Fuller’s estate in March, and turned it over to McCaskill’s committee. He is expected to testify at next week’s hearing, which the senator announced on Thursday. Hollawell also has sued Teva over the role that the marketing of its own brand of fast-acting fentanyl, the Actiq “lollipop,” allegedly played in the death of a man in Philadelphia.

Hollawell’s “heart sank,” he said, when he listened to the recording. Then he called Deborah Fuller. “One of the most difficult things I ever had to do was play that call for her,” the attorney said.

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