from the your-local-drug-dealers dept.
Six former executives and managers from Arizona-based drugmaker, Insys Therapeutics, face conspiracy charges over what a federal prosecutor calls a "racketeering crime." In this case, according to the indictment, the former employees of the drug manufacturer are alleged to have rewarded doctors for prescribing their spray version of the opiate fentanyl, even when it wasn't medically appropriate.
[...] Three years ago on CNBC, Michael Babich demonstrated the company's drug, "Subsys," a prescription pain reliever for cancer patients which is delivered through a spray. The medication, which the company first sold in 2012, racked up $329 milllion in sales last year. "The device that I brought with me today allows the patient to simply with no priming spray the drug underneath their tongue," Babich explained.
According to the indictment, the defendants "conspired with one another to use bribes and kickbacks" for doctors who "wrote large numbers of... prescriptions, most often for patients who did not have cancer." The scheme allegedly funneled tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to practitioners, including one whom a sales representative boasted in an email was running "a very shady pill mill and only accepts cash."
Source: CBS News
"The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don't start, they won't have a problem." – President Donald J. Trump
President Trump has declared the "Opioid Crisis" a nationwide public health emergency. This action will allow for "expanded access to telemedicine services" to remotely prescribe medicines for substance abuse, allow the Department of Health and Human Services to "more quickly make temporary appointments of specialists with the tools and talent needed to respond effectively to our Nation's ongoing public health emergency", allow the Department of Labor to issue dislocated worker grants for those "displaced from the workforce" due to the Opioid Crisis, and will help people with HIV/AIDS to receive substance abuse treatment. The press release lists several actions that the Trump Administration has taken to respond to the Opioid Crisis, including the July 2017 law enforcement action against AlphaBay.
The declaration has been criticized for not requesting any funds to respond to the Crisis. The "nationwide public health emergency" declaration is also distinct from a promised "national emergency declaration", which would have freed up money from the Disaster Relief Fund to be spent on the Crisis. 14 Senate Democrats have introduced a bill that would authorize $45 billion to address the Opioid Crisis. The Obama Administration called on Congress last year to pass just over $1 billion in funding for opioid treatment programs nationwide. This funding was included in the 21st Century Cures Act.
The Department of Justice has arrested and charged the founder and majority owner of Insys Therapeutics Inc., John Kapoor, along with other executives from his company. Kapoor is accused with leading a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors and illegally distribute the company's fentanyl spray, intended for cancer patients, so that it could be prescribed for non-cancer patients. Kapoor stepped down as CEO of Insys in January. Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb said, "Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit. Today's arrest and charges reflect our ongoing efforts to attack the opioid crisis from all angles. We must hold the industry and its leadership accountable - just as we would the cartels or a street-level drug dealer." Six former Insys executives and managers were charged in December.