John Kapoor, founder of Insys Therapeutics was arrested for pushing Subsys, a synthetic opioid narcotic, by bribing doctors.
Subsys, as the drug is known, transmits the extremely powerful narcotic fentanyl in spray form, allowing it to be placed beneath the tongue for fast, potent pain relief. It is meant only for treating cancer patients suffering from severe pain.
But according to prosecutors, Kapoor and several other former high-ranking executives at the company conspired to bribe doctors to write "large numbers of prescriptions for the patients, most of whom were not diagnosed with cancer." They also allegedly "conspired to mislead and defraud health insurance providers who were reluctant to approve payment for the drug when it was prescribed for non-cancer patients."
Insys was one of the largest contributors against Arizona's Proposition 205, which would have legalized cannabis for recreational use, contributing $500,000 to the campaign against the proposition.
An embattled pharmaceutical company that sells the powerful painkiller fentanyl has donated $500,000 toward defeating a ballot initiative that would make recreational use of marijuana legal under Arizona law.
It's hard to imagine a more sinister donor than Insys Therapeutics Inc. in the eyes of pot legalization proponents, who long have claimed drug companies want to keep cannabis illegal to corner the market for drugs, some addictive and dangerous, that relieve pain and other symptoms.
Two former company employees pleaded not guilty last month to federal charges related to an alleged kickback scheme to get doctors to prescribe Subsys.
Let's hope this is becomes a trend where the big drug peddlers are prosecuted the same as street-level heroin dealers. The opiate epidemic has grown significantly in the last several years in Arizona, and the nation as a whole. For once we can rest easy knowing that those who are to blame are being brought to justice.
[To the editors: I don't know how to do block quotes... please bear with me]