Former Insys VP sentenced to 3 years in prison

Jan. 14, 2020

The former vice president of managed markets for Insys Therapeutics, Michael Gurry, was sentenced in federal court in Boston for his role in conspiring to bribe practitioners to prescribe fentanyl-based pain medication, often when medically unnecessary. This is the first federal case meant to hold manufacturers accountable for the opioid crisis.

Gurry was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay approximately $3.6 million in forfeiture. The government was seeking a sentence of 11 years in prison. In May 2019, Gurry was convicted by a federal jury of racketeering conspiracy along with four other Insys executives.

Subsys, a drug owned and manufactured by Insys is a powerful, rapid-onset opioid approved to treat cancer patients suffering intense breakthrough pain. From May 2012 to December 2015, Gurry and his co-defendants conspired to bribe practitioners, many of whom operated pain clinics, in order to induce them to prescribe Insys’ fentanyl-based pain medication, Subsys, to patients, often when medically unnecessary.

Gurry was responsible for creating and overseeing the Insys Reimbursement Center (IRC), which was dedicated to obtaining prior authorization for payment of Subsys prescriptions directly from insurers and pharmacy benefit managers. Beginning in October 2012, Gurry authorized employees of the IRC to lead insurers to believe that they were calling from the office of the prescriber. He also authorized the IRC employees to use a misleading script, known as “the spiel,” to trick insurers into believing that Subsys had been prescribed to the patient to treat breakthrough cancer pain, for which insurers were more likely to authorize payment. Gurry also authorized other tactics that had been found to be more successful in securing payment from insurers. This included citing a diagnosis of “dysphagia” – difficulty swallowing – even when patients were not suffering from the disorder and referencing a history of cancer to mislead insurers.

Read the full release from the US Attorney's Office