Major Drug Company Founder Arrested After Bribing Doctors to Illegally Prescribe Opioids

John Kapoor, billionaire funder and former CEO of major prescription drug company Insys Therapeutics, was arrested Thursday; the arrest followed an early-morning raid on the charges that Kapoor was trying to get doctors to unnecessarily—and illegally— prescribe opioids to patients who don’t need them. He currently faces charges including racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and fraud.

The prescription drug in question is a spray version of fentanyl, which is a lethal and highly addictive opioid originally intended to be solely used by cancer patients for its its painkilling capabilities. However, Insys Therapeutics had been marketing the prescription drug as part of an illegal scheme to push doctors to prescribe it to non-cancer patients.

Last December, six other Insys Therapeutics executives were charged in connection with the scheme to bribe doctors to unnecessarily promote the prescription drug.

The company reportedly made 18,000 payments to doctors in 2016, totaling more than $2 million. Several doctors and even psychiatrists with non-cancer patients have been identified as having received thousands of dollars to unnecessarily prescribe the opioid last year.

Kapoor has a bail set at $1 million and has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and to surrender his passport. Kapoor is the most significant pharmaceutical executive to be criminally charged in relation to the nationwide opioid epidemic.

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