PHOENIX — The founder of a north Scottsdale pain management clinic where an employee is accused of sexually assaulting a sedated patient has come under legal scrutiny for the way he prescribed powerful painkillers, according to court documents.
12 News has also learned that Dr. Nikesh Seth, the clinic founder, was arrested last week in Scottsdale on a charge of drunken driving. An officer stopped Seth in a Lamborghini and a blood test later indicated his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit, according to a police report.
Seth, who is 39, is the founder of Integrated Pain Consultants, which has three offices in the Valley: in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Mesa.
In 2017, Seth was accused of improperly prescribing fentanyl to patients.
A civil lawsuit filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich alleged that Seth and two other doctors collected “hundreds of thousands of dollars from Insys in sham ‘speaker fees’ in exchange for writing copious amounts of Subsys prescriptions to patients.”
Subsys, made by Chandler-based Insys Therapeutics, is a form of fentanyl that patients spray under their tongues.
The drug was approved for the “management of breakthrough pain in adult cancer patients who are already receiving and who are tolerant to around-the-clock opioid therapy,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In a criminal case being heard in Boston, Insys’ founder and top executives are charged with bribing doctors to prescribe the highly addictive and sometimes deadly drug to patients who did not have cancer.
The Arizona lawsuit against Seth was dismissed last year after he and the two other doctors contended that the federal Affordable Care Act pre-empted state law on payments to doctors by pharmaceutical companies.
The doctors argued they complied with federal law by disclosing the Insys payments.
According to Seth’s disclosures, he collected more than $230,000 from Insys in 2014 and 2015.
The AG’s office is evaluating whether to appeal the decision or amend the lawsuit.
“We were disappointed by the decision of the judge to dismiss three doctors from our consumer fraud lawsuit against Insys,” a Brnovich spokesperson said. “But we will continue to hold the company, doctors, and professionals who participated in the opioid kickback scheme accountable.”
Seth could not be reached for comment on Thursday.