Five top executives of the pharma giant Insys Therapeutics, maker of the synthetic opioid fentanyl Subsys, have been found guilty on federal racketeering charges. Court records claim the execs bribed doctors to prescribe Subsys to patients who did not need it.
According to CNN, a Massachusetts jury took 15 days to reach it’s verdict against the executives which included former billionaire John Kapoor, 76. Andrew Lelling, US attorney for the district of Massachusetts, called the convictions “the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids.”
During the trial, prosecutors brought attention to unsavory sales tactics including lap dances to lure doctors. Lelling compared the executives to “street-level drug dealers” and accused them of “fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing [opioids].”
In addition to Kapoor, convictions included Richard Simon, 48, former national director of sales, Sunrise Lee, 38, a former regional sales director, Joseph Rowan, 45, a former regional sales director, and Michael Gurry, 55, the former vice president of managed markets. All five face up to 20 years in prison.
Two other execs, former President and CEO Michael Babich and former vice president of sales Alec Burlakoff, pleading guilty prior to trial and provided testimony incriminating their former colleagues.
The following information was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
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