One of America’s biggest opioid manufacturers is set to pay a massive federal penalty after getting nailed for bribing doctors to prescribe their dangerous and highly addictive fentanyl painkillers. The distribution scheme of Insys Therapeutics, that pushed potent opiates into the hands of patients that did not need them, has been described as a driving force behind America’s ongoing public health epidemic stemming from use of the drugs.
Insys, an Arizona company that reported almost $150 million in revenue in 2017, contracted doctors who agreed to prescribe their drugs for sham speeches. In reality, the doctors were getting paid for issuing prescriptions of Subsys, the company’s fentanyl-based painkiller medication.
Insys’ reckoning in the federal court system thus far represents one of the most prominent judgements against the dark forces that pioneered America’s full-fledged opioid crisis. The company’s founder, billionaire pharmacist John Kapoor, was convicted of criminal racketeering in May with other Insys executives, and faces up to 20 years in prison upon sentencing.
A degree of public accountability being levied against Insys could spur the American public to demand criminal proceedings against other pioneers of the nation’s opioid crisis, most prominently among them the billionaire oligarch Sackler family. The Sacklers, one of America’s wealthiest families, developed and popularized a new generation of opioid-based painkillers, misrepresenting the potential dangers their products posed to the public and profiting off of them to the tunes of billions of dollars.
For the malevolent pharmaceutical kingpins of Insys, a life sentence in the nation’s prison system is little more than a slap on the hand in the eyes of the millions of Americans who have lost a family member or loved one to the ongoing scourge of opiate addiction.
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