Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based in Chandler, Arizona, agreed to plead guilty to fraud and charges of giving kickbacks to medical doctors in exchange for them prescribing Insys’ addictive opioids.
Insys has agreed to pay $225 million for using kickbacks and other illicit strategies in order to sell greater quantities of their product Subsys, a spray that’s used to lessen pain in cancer patients. Subsys contains fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than morphine.
On May 02, five ex-Insys executives, including founder John Kapoor, were convicted on racketeering charges. The share price of the company has decreased by 93% since August.
The company will have to pay a $2 million fine, forfeit another $28 million, and pay $195 million for defrauding the U.S. Government under the False Claims Act.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said: “For years, Insys engaged in prolonged, illegal conduct that prioritized its profits over the health of the thousands of patients who relied on it. Today, the company is being held responsible.”
Insys was accused of using fake “speaker programs”, which were in reality just a means to bribe off doctors, who would, in exchange for these kickbacks, prescribe their drug Subsys to more patients, and in greater doses, even when there was no medical need for it.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that similar opioids – both prescription medicines as well as illicit drugs such as heroin – were involved in 47,600 deaths from overdose in 2017, a record number.