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.
IT’S REAL: Four New Jersey Democrats Charged With Election Fraud in Mail-In Ballot Scheme
They’re all Democrats.
Four men, two of whom are Democratic city council members, have been charged with running a voter fraud operation in the town of Paterson, New Jersey.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced charges of mail-in voting fraud, election fraud, and illegal possession of mail-in ballots against Michael Jackson, Alex Mendez, Shelim Khalique, and Abu Rayzen.
Jackson is an active city councilman, while Mendez is a councilman-elect. Khalique is the brother of another Paterson city councilman, and Rayzen is a campaign operative for Khalique’s brother, Shahin Khalique.
The charges allege that Jackson took it upon himself to pick up completed mail-in ballots from voters in the city and delivered them to the Passaic County Board of Elections. Jackson failed to disclose to the board of elections that he delivered ballots for that he’s a city council member, and in one case, a ballot that he picked up that was unsealed was delivered to the election authorities sealed and completed.
Mendez is also accused of the same form of dishonest ballot harvesting, declining to reveal that he was a candidate for office when dropping off mail-in ballots. He’s also charged with falsifying and tampering with records.
Although they’re rarely enforced, New Jersey laws criminalizing election fraud have strict penalties, and it’s possible that the men could face prison sentences of up to ten years if they’re convicted of the second-degree felonies of which they’re charged.
A state investigation into the recent Paterson city election spurred the criminal charges, with AG Grewal revealing that 20% of the ballots filed in the election were fraudulent.
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