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Pharma Exec Convicted in Sensational Opioid Case

John Kapoor's Insys Therapeutics used illegal tactics to sell its fentanyl spray
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2019 4:49 PM CDT
In this Jan. 30, 2019, file photo, Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor leaves federal court in Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(Newser) – A pharmaceutical company founder accused of paying doctors millions in bribes to prescribe a highly addictive fentanyl spray was convicted Thursday in a case that exposed such marketing tactics as using a stripper-turned-sales-rep to give a physician a lap dance. John Kapoor, the 76-year-old former chairman of Insys Therapeutics, was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy after 15 days of jury deliberations, the AP reports. Four ex-employees of the Chandler, Arizona-based company, including the former exotic dancer, were also convicted. Some of the most sensational evidence in the months-long federal trial included a video of employees dancing and rapping around an executive dressed as a giant bottle of the powerful spray Subsys, and testimony about how the company made a habit of hiring attractive women as sales representatives.

Federal prosecutors portrayed the case as part of the government's effort to go after those it views as responsible for fueling the nation's deadly opioid crisis. Kapoor and the others were accused of bribing doctors across the US to boost sales of Subsys and misleading insurers to get payment approved for the drug, which is meant for cancer patients in severe pain and can cost as much as $19,000 a month, according to prosecutors. The bribes were paid in the form of fees for sham speaking engagements that were billed as educational opportunities for other doctors. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison. (Much more on the sensational trial here. One woman died just a year after she was prescribed the fentanyl spray for pain.)


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