Insys Therapeutics Founder and One Time Billionaire John Kapoor Sentenced to 66 Months in Prison for Bribes and Kickbacks to Physicians

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John N. Kapoor (Photo courtesy: Forbes)

BOSTON — John Kapoor, founder of the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics and one time billionaire, has been sentenced to 5-and-a-half years in prison for orchestrating a scheme of bribes and kickbacks to physicians who prescribed large amounts of a fentanyl spray to patients who didn’t need the painkiller, according to news reports.

Kapoor’s 66-month sentence, handed down Thursday in Boston federal court by U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs, is the lengthiest prison term imposed on seven former Insys executives sentenced in the landmark case over the past two weeks.

In other sentencings in recent days, Insys’ former vice president Michael Gurry and national director of sales Richard Simon each received 33 months in prison for their involvement in the scheme; former Insys CEO Michael Babich was sentenced to 30 months; the company’s regional sales director Joseph Rowan to 27 months; and Sunrise Lee, former regional sales director, to one year and a day in prison.

Former Vice President of Sales Alec Burlakoff was sentenced to 26 months Thursday.

“Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Yeager, who sought 15 years in prison, called Kapoor – former chairman of the company’s board – the “linchpin” of the criminal scheme and the only defendant who could not have been replaced by another conspirator,” reported USA Today. “He was the principal leader, who personally approved, and thereafter enforced, the corrupt strategies employed throughout the conspiracy,” Yeager said. “This crime would not have happened, could not have happened, without John Kapoor. It was, in almost every way, Kapoor’s crime.”

In addition to prison, Kapoor, 76, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and must pay a $250,000 fine, according to USA Today.

In May last year the founder and four former executives of Insys Therapeutics Inc. were convicted by a federal jury in Boston in connection with bribing medical practitioners to prescribe Subsys, a highly-addictive sublingual fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain, and for defrauding Medicare and private insurance carriers, according to an statement from the office of United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.

In March 2018, Forbes had estimated Ms. Kapoor’s net worth at $1.8 billion.

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