Economics/Class Relations

Worse Than Theranos

The Week

n early December, while Elizabeth Holmes was testifying in her own defense in the most heavily covered white-collar criminal trial in recent memory, an entirely different criminal proceeding involving the health-care industry was taking place across the country.

Thomas Whitten, a 71-year-old former doctor, was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for his role in overprescribing a fentanyl spray known as Subsys that is administered under the tongue. It led one patient to believe he “was going crazy” from hallucinations and caused “literally three or four” of his teeth to fall out while at work one day. Another patient eventually had “a breakdown” and “drove off” and left her kids on Christmas, while still another said that she would wake up “at night screaming” and that the police had to be called multiple times because of her hallucinogenic episodes. The product was eventually linked to hundreds of deaths.

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