insys therapeutics executives indicted

Six former executives and managers of pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics, Inc. were arrested on allegations including conspiracy to commit racketeering, bribing doctors, and fraud last month.

“They contributed to the growing opioid epidemic and placed profit before patient safety,” stated Harold H. Shaw, FBI special agent in charge of the Boston Field Division, in a press release.

The statement alleges the company’s former CEO and President Michael Babich, Vice President of Sales Alec Burlakoff, National Director of Sales Richard Simon, Regional Sales Directors Sunrise Lee and Joseph Rowan, and Vice President of Managed Markets Michael Gurry, conspired to bribe doctors in numerous states into prescribing the company’s fentanyl-derived sublingual spray Subsys.

The painkiller was designed to ease intense episodes of breakthrough pain in cancer patients. Once bribes and kickbacks were accepted, physicians began writing large amounts of prescriptions to patients, many of whom weren’t diagnosed with cancer.

One practitioner was given checks amounting to roughly $260,000 between 2012 and 2015 from speaker program bribes and kickbacks, the indictment stated. The practitioner was invited to Insys’ corporate headquarters in 2013 and was wined and dined by Burlakoff and Rowan. A week later, Burkaloff and Rowan received an email stating that the practitioner had written 17 Subsys prescriptions in less than a week. Rowan sent an e-mail to the practitioner stating: “We appreciate you more than you could believe.”

Other physicians were invited to sham speaking engagements.

The indictment also stated… (continue reading)