Insys Therapeutics CEO John Kapoor is under arrest amid allegations of fraud and racketeering. Officials say that Kapoor used bribes and kickbacks. They say his goal was to offer and promote the drug Subsys, an opioid, for improper uses in exchange for financial gain.
The charges against Kapoor are conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to offer kickbacks for drug prescriptions. The racketeering and fraud charges each can bring up to 20 years in prison. A violation of the kickback law can result in up to 5 years in prison.
Kapoor is facing all federal charges. He was arrested in Alabama, the location of the Insys Therapeutics headquarters. However, officials brought the charges against Kapoor in Boston’s federal court.
Kapoor pushed the drug for improper purposes
Officials say that Kapoor pushed medical care providers to prescribe the drugs to people who didn’t have cancer. They say Kapoor sweetened the deal by offering doctors bribes for writing prescriptions. Officials say that Kapoor wasn’t the only individual involved. They say that he worked with other high-ranking company employees.
Health insurers noticed that doctors frequently prescribed the drugs to non-cancer patients. They balked at paying providers for the prescriptions. Officials say that Kapoor and his co-conspirators actively took steps to mislead insurance companies about what they were doing.
Violating the law
In the years leading up to Kapoor’s arrest, law enforcement prosecuted others for taking kickbacks for Insys prescription schemes. In one 2015 case, a nurse admitted to taking money from Insys manufacturers in exchange for prescribing the drug. The nurse targeted Medicare patients. None of the patients had cancer.
In addition to the case with the nurse, an Alabama sales representative for Insys admitted participating in a conspiracy to violate the law. The representative paid multiple doctors in exchange for prescribing the drug. In addition, officials for the State of Illinois brought formal complaints against Insys because of their promotion of Subsys for uses not consistent with the drug’s approval. There are a number of other investigations ongoing in several states.
What’s Subsys and how does it work
Insys drug manufacturers market Subsys as a powerful medication to relieve pain in cancer patients. Patients get the drug in a spray form. They can get pain relief quickly just by putting the delivery mechanism under their tongue and delivering a spray.
Subsys is a narcotic known as a fentanyl. That means that it acts quickly and lasts only a short period of time. Such drugs fall under the opioid category and are highly addictive.
The opioid crisis in America
The arrest comes after President Trump declared a crisis of opioid abuse and addiction. Trump says that opioid abuse is a public health emergency. He says that the crisis is worse now than at any other point in history. Trump pointed to his brother’s substance abuse that eventually took his brother’s life.
By issuing a public health crisis, Trump aims to make telecommunication more available for medical services in rural areas. The declaration also takes steps to cut down on bureaucratic delays that hinder proper medical care. It also redirects grant moneys currently allocated to other things.
Officials say that Kapoor’s arrest is one part of their ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in America. They say that insurance fraud and prescription abuse contributes to the opioid problem in America. Combating fraud and prosecuting unscrupulous officials is part of law enforcement’s efforts to attack opioid abuse.
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