Conspiracy convictions can carry sentences up to 20 years in prison.
The abuse of opioid drugs continues to be a major tragedy in the United States. Individuals and local and state governments are looking to hold the companies that make these drugs – and their owners and top executives – accountable for the damage inflicted.
Both Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family, which own the company, face numerous lawsuits alleging they knowingly encouraged the use of the addictive opioid painkiller oxycontin. In April 2019, former executives of the Rochester Drug Co-operative (RDC) were charged with illegally diverting opioids. Some have pleaded guilty, and the private company has reached civil and criminal settlements.
Now a federal jury has convicted five former executives of Insys Therapeutics, including company founder John Kapor, of bribing doctors to prescribe its fentanyl spray Subsys.
The Justice Department says that, although Subsys is indicated for cancer patients with intense breakthrough pain, the company execs bribed doctors with a history of high volumes of prescriptions to prescribe it for non-cancer patients, as well as to increase the dose and number of units prescribed to cancer patients. Only doctors that generated net revenue of at least twice the amount of the bribe received any kickbacks. The company also created an Insys Reimbursement Center where its employees used a practiced message to mislead insurers about patient diagnoses.
Conspiracy convictions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act can carry prison sentences of up to 20 years.