Billionaire Insys founder charged in US opioid bribe case

The billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics was arrested on Thursday on charges that will he participated in a scheme with various other executives to bribe doctors to prescribe a fentanyl-based cancer pain drug along with to defraud insurers.

John Kapoor, 74, who stepped down as chief executive of Insys in January, was charged with having engaged in conspiracies to commit racketeering, mail fraud along with wire fraud in an indictment filed in federal court in Boston.

He was arrested in Arizona, where Insys is actually based, along with added as a defendant in a previously filed case against six former Insys executives along with managers, including former Chief Executive Michael Babich, prosecutors said.

Brian Kelly, Kapoor’s lawyer, said in an email: “My client is actually innocent along with he intends to fight these charges vigorously.”

Insys, which has been in settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department in connection with the probe, declined to comment. Its stock cost fell 4.56 percent to $7.08 in midday trading on Thursday.

The charges marked a major escalation of the ongoing investigations of Insys related to Subsys, an under-the-tongue spray that will contains fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid.

Those probes have come amid a national opioid abuse epidemic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control along with Prevention, opioids were involved in over 33,000 deaths in 2015. The death rate has continued to rise, according to estimates.

Kapoor, who founded Insys in 2002 along with remains a board member, stepped down in January as the company’s chairman along with chief executive, a role he took on in November 2015.

He is actually currently the chairman of drugmaker Akorn along with president of investment firm EJ Financial Enterprises.

According to the indictment, following the launch of Subsys in 2012, Kapoor along with Babich grew dissatisfied with the drug’s success in its initial three months on the market.

the item says they, with others, devised a scheme to pay bribes inside form of speaker fees along with food along with entertainment to medical practitioners to prescribe Subsys along with to improve the dosage along with volume of existing prescriptions.

They also sought to mislead along with defraud insurers who were reluctant to approve payment for Subsys when the item was prescribed to patients who did not have cancer, the indictment said.

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