Insys CEO and execs convicted in opioid case

May 3, 2019

 A federal jury has found the CEO and top executives of Insys Therapeutics, a company that sold a fentanyl-based painkiller, guilty of racketeering charges.

This verdict marks the first-ever conviction of a drug company CEO in the government's fight to combat the opioid crisis.

The jury convicted the company’s founder, onetime billionaire John Kapoor, and four former executives: Richard M. Simon, the company's former national director of sales; Sunrise Lee and Joseph A. Rowan, both one-time regional sales directors; and former Vice President of Managed Markets, Michael J. Gurry. According to the court findings, the execs had conspired to fuel sales of its highly potent drug, Subsys, by bribing doctors to prescribe their drug as well as misleading insurers about patients’ need for the drug.

Two other co-conspirators, Michael Babich, the former CEO of the company, and Alec Burlakoff, former vice president of sales, pleaded guilty to charges in January and testified against former colleagues in the trial. You may recognize Burlakoff's name from his rap video debut. The internal video surfaced a few months ago, featuring Burlakoff, dressed as a giant prescription bottle, rapping about how to persuade doctors to prescribe higher doses of Insys’ liquid opioid.

Appeals seem likely for the execs.

Read the NYT article.