Health Care

Billionaire Insys founder charged in U.S. opioid bribe case

Billionaire Insys founder charged in U.S. opioid bribe case”

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

Mr Kapoor is due to appear in US District Court in Phoenix.

"In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies exclusively for profit", said Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb in Boston. Most of the people who received the prescriptions did not have cancer.

The opioid epidemic is killing 175 people a day and costing the US economy billions of dollars annually, according to the government. Kapoor's arrest came hours before the White House's expected announcement that the opioid addiction crisis was being declared a national public health emergency.

Authorities allege Kapoor and several previously indicted codefendants "conspired to bribe practitioners in various states, many of whom operated pain clinics", to prescribe Subsys, a powerful narcotic meant for cancer patients suffering intense pain, the statement said. Kelly's office said he was out of town and not immediately available for comment.

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Insys, which has been in settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department in connection with the probe, declined to comment.

"In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies exclusively for profit", Weinreb said in a statement.

Some lower-level Insys employees have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors.

In Massachusetts, former Insys CEO Michael L. Babich and five other former executives and managers are set to go to trial in October 2018 and have pleaded not guilty.

Kapoor is also the chairman and largest shareholder of Akorn Inc., which has been acquired by German health-care provider Fresenius SE for $4.3 billion in April. Numerous physicians were allegedly paid bribes by the company to push the painkilling drug.

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