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Big Pharma Exec Sentenced to Prison Over Opioid Bribery Scheme


John Kapoor, the Founder and Former Chairman of the Board of Insys Therapeutics, has been sentenced to 5 years and 5 months in federal prison for his role in orchestrating a scheme to bribe medical professionals to prescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-based pain medication, according to a press release issued on Thursday, January 23, 2020 by the U.S. Justice Department.

According to the DOJ, Kapoor and four top Insys executives were convicted of federal racketeering charges in May 2019 for orchestrating a bribery scheme where doctors were incentivized to prescribe Insys’ powerful synthetic opioid medication to patients who didn’t need it. All five Insys executives were also convicted of defrauding Medicare and private insurance.

DOJ Release Shows Insys Profited at Patients’ Expense

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Kapoor privately bankrolled Insys as it developed Subsys, a synthetic and highly addictive opioid which was eventually approved to treat pain in cancer patients.

It added that Kapoor, a pharmaceutical industry veteran, learned he could develop a medication administered in spray form and market the generic drug as a premium product. He enlisted the help of top executives to bribe practitioners to prescribe Subsys to patients – even when doing so was medically unnecessary, officials state.

Kapoor and his colleagues continued to push Subsys despite growing fears surrounding the country’s opioid epidemic by setting weekly quotas for doctors on their payroll, and urging practitioners to prescribe Subsys in higher doses so they could profit at patients’ expense.

Domina Law Prepares for National Opioid Litigation

The high-profile sentencing of Kapoor and other Insys executives is yet another albatross for the opioid industry, which profited for decades at the expense of patients and families who were among the millions devastated by the nation’s opioid crisis – including all four Nebraska Indian Nations being represented by Domina Law Group.

As a firm that has been committed to fighting back against powerful pharmaceutical companies which prioritize profits over people, Domina Law has closely tracked major marks in the national litigation – including Oklahoma’s $572M opioid judgment, and Johnson & Johnson’s $20.4M settlement in two Ohio counties that have struggled with costs incurred by rampant opioid addiction, overdose, and death.

These civil judgments, coupled with criminal convictions and real prison time for top executives, are an indication that, while inordinately large and complex, the national opioid litigation has merit. What’s more, they show the time has come for Big Pharma to pay the price for fueling an unprecedented public health crises with decades of unscrupulous conduct.

Domina Law Group is currently representing Native American tribes and others across Nebraska and the nation in opioid lawsuits against manufacturers and drug makers. If you wish to speak with a member of our team, contact our firm today.