Pharma execs convicted for roles in fueling opioid epidemic


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
El acceso al contenido completo es sólo para profesionales sanitarios registrados. El acceso al contenido completo es sólo para profesionales sanitarios registrados.

In what is being described as a landmark case, the founder and four former executives of US pharmaceutical company, Insys Therapeutics Inc have been convicted of RICO conspiracy (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) by a federal jury in Boston. 

Insys founder and former Executive Chairman John N. Kapoor, along with the company's former National Director of Sales, Richard M. Simon; the former Vice President of Managed Markets, Michael J. Gurry; and two former regional sales directors, Sunrise Lee and Joseph A. Rowan, received convictions in connection with a scheme where medical practitioners were bribed to prescribe Subsys and for defrauding Medicare and private insurance carriers. Prior to the start of the trial, Michael Babich, the company's former CEO and President, and Alec Burlakoff, the former Vice President of Sales had pleaded guilty and they testified during the trial.

The court heard that from May 2012 to December 2015, the defendants had conspired to bribe and provide kickbacks to practitioners in order to induce them to prescribe Subsys to patients often when medically unnecessary. This included organising sham speaker programmes.  

This is the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids.

Sentencing dates have not yet been set.