Former pharma exec accused of giving a lap dance as part of an opioid kickback scheme

Jan. 30, 2019

According to recent testimony, a former sales executive from Insys Therapeutics once gave a doctor a lap dance at an event meant to persuade healthcare professionals to prescribe a fentanyl spray.

Several executives from Insys are currently standing trial for an opioid kickback scheme that spanned several years and involved the company's powerful fentanyl spray Subsys. During the second day of a trial targeting Insys founder, John Kapoor, jurors heard testimony from a former colleague who claimed that one exec, Sunrise Lee, was an exotic dancer before she was hired, with no pharma experience, to become a regional sales manager for Insys. As part of the scheme, the company is accused of hosting “speaker events” to "educate" doctors that were really lavish rewards for Subsys prescribers. And at one of these events at a club in Chicago, Lee's former colleague described a scene where Lee was seen sitting on the lap of a doctor and “bouncing around” while he touched her “inappropriately.” 

Subsys was approved for severe cancer pain, but the company reportedly bribed doctors to prescribe the highly addictive drug to non-cancer patients. Insys reportedly made about 18,000 payments totaling more than $2 million to a variety of healthcare professionals including headache doctors, back pain specialists and a psychiatrist in 2016 alone. 

Kapoor and four other executives are now standing trial at a federal court in Boston. They have denied wrongdoing and pegged the conspiracy on former vice president of sales, Alec Burlakoff, who has already pleaded guilty to the kickback scheme. 

The trial is expected to last for months. 

Read the full CBSNews report.