Updated: May 2, 2019 / 2:16 PM
On Thursday, the founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc became one of the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executives to be convicted in a case that is tied to the U.S. opioid crisis when he and all four of his colleagues were found guilty of participating in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive painkiller.
In Boston, a federal jury found John Kapoor, who is the drugmaker’s former chairman, and his co-defendants all guilty of racketeering conspiracy for engaging in a scheme that also misled insurers to pay for the drug.
The arrest of Kapoor in 2017 came the same day U.S. President Donald Trump had declared a public emergency over the epidemic that involved tens of thousands of overdose deaths annually.
76 year old Kapoor was found guilty for running a scheme that bribed doctors nationwide by requiring them to act as speakers at sham events meant to educate clinicians about its fentanyl spray, Subsys.
Prosecutors also claim that Kapoor was involved in directing efforts to defraud insurers who were reluctant to pay for Subsys. His co-defendants were former Insys executives and managers Richard Simon, Michael Gurry, Joseph Rowan, and Sunrise Lee.
They each face up to 20 years in prison. They all have denied their accused wrongdoing, and defense lawyers signaled plans to appeal the case.