PORTSMOUTH — A Dover couple is working with the FBI and Drug and Enforcement Administration for an investigation into alleged cash kickbacks, paid to medical professionals for prescribing the highly addictive fentanyl spray Subsys, it's revealed in a lawsuit filed last week against Subsys.

Jeffrey and Polly Kyle filed the civil suit in the Strafford County Superior Court, through Portsmouth attorney Michael Rainboth, who was one of the first in the country to file a civil suit against Subsys maker Insys Therapeutics, for clients sickened by their prescribed use of Subsys.

Rainboth said Tuesday he has settled three of the lawsuits with Subsys and the amounts of those settlements is confidential.

In a suit he filed Thursday, his client Jeffrey Kyle of Dover claims he was injured from a scaffolding fall in 2013, went for treatment at PainCare in Somersworth and was prescribed Subsys by physician assistant Christopher Clough.

Clough, of Dover, is now charged federally with one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks and seven counts of receipt of kickbacks, all pertaining to Subsys prescriptions. He's scheduled for an October trial in the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire and each count carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

The Kyles allege in their new Superior Court suit that Clough prescribed Jeffrey Kyle with Subsys, "which is much more potent than morphine and heroin." Jeffrey Kyle alleges Clough prescribed him fentanyl patches and oxycodone, in addition to the Subsys spray, for which he was prescribed increasingly higher doses.

When his shipment of Subsys did not arrive in the mail as expected, the lawsuit alleges, Jeffrey Kyle suffered severe withdrawal sickness and "felt like he was going to die." In May 2015, according to Kyle's lawsuit, Clough told him he was leaving PainCare to work at a family business, not disclosing he was under investigation by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, which revoked Clough's medical license in 2016, the suit alleges.

When Clough was arrested last year, the attorney general's office reported he was paid more than $41,000 to serve as a speaker at more than 40 programs at a rate of approximately $1,000 per event.

“In many instances, the programs were merely sham events where Clough was paid to have dinner with employees or representatives of the pharmaceutical company,” the attorney general announced. “In other instances, the programs were attended by individuals, including colleagues and friends, who were not authorized to prescribe controlled substances.”

According to an indictment, Clough hosted seven events at high-end restaurants, two in Boston and five in Portsmouth. When Clough was arrested, Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston division said, “As alleged, Dr. Clough was the top prescriber of a powerful fentanyl spray in the state of New Hampshire. He is alleged to have received kickbacks for issuing those prescriptions.”

The Kyles' lawsuit, filed May 10, says Jeffrey Kyle received an April phone call from a DEA agent who wanted to speak with him about his past treatment with Clough at PainCare and "this was the first time Mr. Kyle or his spouse had heard from any source that Mr. Clough had been arrested." The following day, Jeffrey Kyle was interviewed by FBI and DEA agents about Clough and it was the first time he heard Clough had "allegedly taken bribes from Insys Therapeutics," the lawsuit reports. 

"This was when Mr. Kyle discovered that he had been harmed by the defendants negligent and reckless actions," the suit alleges. "On May 9, 2018, Mr. and Mrs. Kyle agreed to cooperate with the DEA and FBI and retained legal counsel to pursue legal action against the defendants."

The Kyles' suit includes a count of medical negligence against Clough, negligent supervision against PainCare, negligence against Insys, negligence against a PainCare supervising physician and against PainCare. None of the defendants have responded yet to the new lawsuit.

The state of New Hampshire is also suing Insys in the Merrimack Superior Court alleging the Insys speakers program was "a scheme by Insys to provide payments to induce and in exchange for prescribers to prescribe Subsys."

One of Rainboth’s clients who, he said Tuesday, has settled out of court, Mackenzie Colby of Rochester, claimed she slipped on ice, injured her back and turned to Clough for pain management. The 36-year-old wife and mother said she was prescribed Subsys, leading to a grueling addiction.

Also from Rochester, John Perusse settled a suit that alleged he suffered a spinal injury from a 2009 snowmobile crash, resulting in partial paralysis of his legs and chronic back and leg pain. In 2010, he alleged, he was referred to PainCare, came under the care of Clough and also suffered from addiction after he was given Subsys.

Rainboth said he also settled a suit for Jerome Cassell of Middleton who alleged he turned to Clough after suffering partial paralysis in a 2007 construction accident. Cassell used Subsys for 14 months, including at an increased dose, until he “became severely addicted and dependent” on it, the suit claimed. Several times, Cassell alleged, the drug made him “almost unconscious.”