Minnesota Attorney General Swanson sues opioid manufacturer Insys

Attorney General Lori Swanson

Attorney General Lori Swanson

Jeremy Olson of the Strib reports, “Minnesota’s attorney general sued the manufacturer of a fentanyl spray made to manage excruciating cancer pain, alleging that the company violated state and federal laws that prevent the marketing of such drugs for off-label purposes. Documents presented Wednesday morning by Attorney General Lori Swanson showed how sales representatives for Insys were coached to aggressively promote the opioid drug, Subsys, for purposes beyond cancer pain, to recommend higher initial doses than federally recommended, and to latch onto doctors who were susceptible to marketing influence.”

Paulsen speaks. Mark Zdechlik and Peter Cox of MPR tell us, “U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen held three town hall meetings Wednesday, including a forum at the Hamel Community Center in western Hennepin County where he got an earful from citizens. Paulsen fielded questions on campaign finance reform, tax policy and social welfare programs. Several people pressed the 3rd District Republican on gun control in the context of preventing school shootings. … Critics have accused Paulsen of avoiding the people he represents in Congress. Paulsen on Wednesday explained to reporters why his town halls require a ticket and are not open to anyone who wants to participate.”

New budget for SWLRT. From the Star Tribune: “After costs for materials and labor surged in recent months, the Metropolitan Council on Wednesday approved a new budget of just over $2 billion for the Southwest Corridor light-rail project. On Thursday, Hennepin County will consider the new budget, which reflects an increase of $204 million. The county is expected to pay for the increase largely through a half-cent sales tax that is set aside for transportation purposes.”

The Painter-Smith debates could be interesting. For The Hill, Ben Kamisar writes, “In Minnesota, [Richard] Painter’s quest to defeat Smith, a longtime Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party insider, is being greeted with skepticism. Many question whether Democrats will be willing to back a Republican who so recently jumped to the other party — regardless of his personal story. …  Painter appears to see his campaign as an attack on that very tribalism, as well as an argument that concern about Trump should be bipartisan.” Amen to that.

You can take the fighter out of the cage. A Forum News Service story says, “A martial arts fighter from Hawley has been sentenced to 32 months in state prison in St. Cloud for a brutal assault on another fighter while tubing on the Otter Tail River near Detroit Lakes last summer. Jamie Lee Lampi, 28, was sentenced in Becker County District Court last month for felony third-degree assault. According to court records, last July 3, Becker County officers were dispatched an assault on the river. Lampi had assaulted a man, leaving him bloody and unable to walk … .”

Not related, at least not in any obvious way. Oleg Matsnev of The New York Times reports, “Jeff Monson, a prominent American mixed martial arts fighter, has been granted Russian citizenship, the government announced Tuesday, becoming the latest fading Western star to be given a passport. The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, signed the decree days earlier, making Monson a citizen. Dmitry S. Peskov, the spokesman for the president, said it was in recognition of the fact that he was ‘an internationally acclaimed’ fighter. As a child, Monson lived in St. Paul and then in Princeton, Minn., about an hour north of the Twin Cities.”

Today in protecting and serving. Says the AP, “A former Minneapolis police officer has been sentenced to four years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman when he was off duty. Thomas Tichich, 49, was convicted in April of two counts of third-degree sexual assault. He was fired hours after the verdict. Tichich was accused of forcing oral sex on the woman while she was sleeping after she had had too much to drink in December 2016.”

Some of us woudn’t even make the intra-office cut. MPR’s Marianne Combs says, “The Scripps National Spelling Bee is underway in Maryland. On Thursday, 42 finalists will compete for the grand title, which comes with more than $40,000 in cash prizes. This year, seven Minnesota students made it into the competition after winning regional spelling bees. Ainsley Boucher, 13, of Crookston, tied for 41st place in last year’s National Spelling Bee and was back again this year. She correctly spelled ‘Phyllomorph’ in round two, but things were looking a little dicey in round three.”

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