Opioid billionaire charged with bribing doctors in fentanyl fraud scheme

Oct 29, 2017, 01:05
Opioid billionaire charged with bribing doctors in fentanyl fraud scheme

"In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies exclusively for profit", Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb said in a statement.

Insys manufactures Subsys, an expensive fentanyl spray approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain.

Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, Ariz., who is a board member for the company, was charged with RICO conspiracy and other felonies, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law.

Authorities allege that Kapoor, along with six former executives, "conspired to mislead and defraud health insurance providers who were reluctant to approve payment for the drug when it was prescribed for non-cancer patients". The company manufactured and started selling it in 2012. Most of those who received the prescriptions weren't cancer patients. That allegedly included the use of bribes and kickbacks, typically in the form of expensive dinners for doctors.

In response to the nationwide opioid crisis, the most significant pharmaceutical executive to be criminally charged, is Mr. Kapoor.

Subsys is a spray version of the drug fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid and tranquilizer that is thought to be behind numerous 60,000-plus lethal drug overdoses in the country a year ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A number of people in Kapoor's management team were indicted past year.

The initial success of that medication turned Insys into one of Arizona's hottest stocks ever, but that was followed by a sharp downturn as the company's profits and revenue were scaled back as the investigations widened.

The superseding indictment, unsealed today in Boston, also includes additional allegations against several former Insys executives and managers who were initially indicted in December 2016. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) for allegedly marketing Subsys off-label.

This company has repeatedly gotten away with fines that amounted to a slap on the wrist for actions that helped fuel a nationwide epidemic that's claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives.

The company has paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits by multiple state attorneys general, including a $4.5 million settlement in IL.

In addition to the criminal charges, states have been suing Insys over its marketing practices.

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