Opioid Execs Convicted of Bribery and Racketeering
“Today’s convictions mark the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids. Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way.”
-Andrew Lelling, Massachusetts prosecutor
In early May, a federal jury in Boston found top executives of Insys Therapeutics, a major opioid manufacturer, guilty of racketeering and conspiracy. The charges stem from systematic bribery and fraud to increase sales of Sybsys, their flagship product, an opioid painkiller containing fentanyl.
These convictions send a clear signal that the people who were most responsible for creating the American opioid epidemic are at last being held accountable.
A Flood of Convictions
The trial lasted ten weeks, and jurors deliberated for more than two weeks, finally issuing guilty verdicts against John Kapoor, the billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics. Four other top executives were also convicted:
- Sunrise Lee, the former Regional Sales Director
- Richard Simon, the former National Director of Sales
- Michael Gurry, the former Vice President of Managed Markets
- Joseph Rowan, also a former Regional Sales Director
Earlier, three other former high-ranking Insys execs plead guilty:
- In August 2018, Jeffrey Pearlman, a former Regional Sales Manager responsible for Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York, plead guilty to conspiring to violate the anti-kickback law.
- In November 2018, Alec Burlakoff, the former National Sales Director, plead guilty to conspiring to bribe doctors. Significantly, Burlakoff also agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their case against Insys Therapeutics.
- In January 2019, Michael Babich, the former CEO, plead guilty to mail fraud, conspiracy, and participating in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe unneeded opioid medications.
With the exception of John Kapoor, each of these executives was arrested in late 2016. Kapoor was not arrested and charged until October 2017. Sentences have not been handed down yet, but the defendants face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
In August 2018, Insys reached an agreement with the Justice Department to pay $150 millionover the next five years, with the possibility of an additional $75 millionin future payments.
What Does All of This Mean to YOU?
Thanks to the hundreds of lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors going on right now, we know much more about how Big Pharma companies helped create and then spread the drug epidemic that has been called the worst public health crisis in American history.
Prescription opioid painkillers are powerfully addictive, even when they are legitimately prescribed and taken precisely as directed. The risk is even greater when they are improperly-prescribed. This means that it is entirely possible that you or someone you care about developed a dependence on or addiction to opioid pain medications.
If this is the case, and if you live in the San Diego area, help is available.
Your best, most-trusted local resource is Lasting Recovery. As the top outpatient drug rehab program in San Diego, Lasting Recovery uses a proven, evidence-based treatment strategy that incorporates counseling, group therapy, medication assistance, and holistic options that gives you your best chance to safely and successfully regain both your sobriety and your balance in life.
To get the immediate help you need, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.
Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”