Pharmaceutical Executive Sentenced To 66 Months In Prison In Opioid Trial

Summary and Analysis…

The sentencing of a former pharmaceutical executive to more than five years in prison is being hailed as a potentially important warning to other pharmaceutical executives.

Although this trial will hopefully signal the start of other prosecutions, it is also remarkable such prosecutions aren’t already common. Reports indicate that in the United States alone more than 100 people die every day due to an opioid overdose and, in one six-year period, in excess of 70 billion opioid pills were marketed and sold.

The article cites Ameet Sarpatwari, assistant director of Harvard University’s Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law who believes this trial will impact the pharmaceutical industry but cautions that “this successful prosecution does not mean the practices that contributed to overprescribing and addiction to opioids will go away.”

Excerpted from NPR

Former billionaire and pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His sentencing is the culmination of a months-long criminal trial in Boston’s Moakley U.S. Courthouse that resulted in the first successful prosecution of pharmaceutical executives tied to the opioid epidemic.

The 76-year-old is the founder of Insys Therapeutics, which made and aggressively marketed the potent opioid painkiller Subsys.

For the federal government, this was a landmark trial in which corporate executives were charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, a charge often reserved for mob bosses and drug lords. Experts saw the trial as sending a message to drug companies that they will be held criminally accountable for their alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis.

“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Brad Bailey, a former federal prosecutor and current defense attorney who has been following the Insys trial closely. “It’s a template that prosecutors will continue to use.”