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Pharma Billionaire Arrested On Charges Of Bribing Doctors To Prescribe Opioid Painkillers

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If you have a health concern, you want to be able to trust your doctor to provide the best treatment and prescribe you any medication only if it is necessary and safe. You also want to trust pharmaceutical companies to create medication that’s safe and beneficial to your health and encourages doctors to only prescribe it to patients who really need it.

Sounds like a no-brainer, however, it seems that you may not be able to trust all doctors and pharmaceutical companies as much as you want to. It turns out that some doctors are influenced by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe medication to patients that is not needed. 

Pharmaceutical Executive Was Arrested For Bribing Doctors

In 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis as a nationwide public health emergency in the US. He also stated that the opioid epidemic is a worldwide problem.(1)

In October 2017, soon after the President’s statement, John Kapoor, a wealthy pharmaceutical company executive was arrested and charged with bribing doctors to prescribe his firm’s opioid painkiller even in cases when it was unnecessary. (2)

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Kapoor, 74, is the founder of Insys Therapeutics. He was arrested by the Department of Justice. He was charged with both bribes and fraud in order to boost sales of Subsys, a fentanyl spray used as a painkiller for cancer patients. (3)

This wasn’t the first arrest. A year earlier, Michael Babich, a former Insys CEO was arrested along with five other executives for taking part in an alleged “nationwide conspiracy.”

Addictive Opioid Cancer Medications Were Prescribed To Non-Cancer Patients

According to the Justice Department, Insys executives, including Kapoor, encouraged doctors to write prescriptions of the medication even to patients without cancer. They used bribes to achieve a large number of unnecessary prescriptions. Philip Coyne, special agent in charge of the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explained that the executives paid doctors to reimburse them for needlessly prescribing fentanyl, a drug that can form serious addictions and can be extremely dangerous to one’s physical and mental health. Moreover, it seems that the executives also defrauded insurers by creating a so-called ‘reimbursement unit’ to obtain prior authorization from those insurers who were hesitant to pay for the medication.

Fentanyl is a highly addictive opioid cancer medication that was specifically designed for certain cancer patients in excruciating pain. According to Harold Shaw, a special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, giving this addictive and dangerous substance to patients who do not have cancer and do not require it is no better than being a street-level drug dealer.

Insys Is Now Developing Drugs To Reverse Opioid Overdose

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Insys has suffered since Kapoor’s arrest. The company’s stock closed down nearly 23%, resulting in a $417 million decline in the company’s valuation. This is huge. Insys was valued over $19 billion back in 2015 when the first concerns regarding the company and opioid practices were raised. Additionally, the company is also in the process of developing a drug to reverse opioid overdoses. (4, 5)

It sounds like a moneymaker to develop a medication to reverse overdose by the opioid that the company was pushing to oversell to begin with. A moneymaker for the company, but an enormous injustice to the people in the US, specifically to patients who trust their doctors and want to get better.

Kapoor Denied All Charges – Case Is Still Pending

It is not only the company but also Kapoor who was losing on his arrest financially. At the peak of the company, Kapoor’s stake in the company is worth $1.9 billion. Just after his arrest, it was down by $246.7 million (though that is still plenty of money to fall back on, in addition to his $1 billion stakes in Akorn Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug maker that he served as a board member). Shortly after his arrest, he resigned from the board at Insys and Akorn Pharmacuticals. (2, 6)

Kapoor denied all charges. Along with other executives, he pleaded not guilty. His case is still pending and his trial is coming up in January. In the meantime, Insys has compiled $150 million in reserves as potential settlement funds and is facing up to $75 million in other payments on various contingent events. An array of other legal issues is still pending, however, the company is still up and running in the meantime. (6, 7, 8)

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Do Your Research. Get A Second Opinion. Try Natural Alternatives.

This story is likely not unique. It is horrifying to think about a world where companies that make addictive and dangerous medication bribe doctors to give them to patients who don’t need them. To consider that doctors – who are supposed to protect their patients and preserve health – agree to the bribes is even scarier.

It makes one really distrustful towards their doctors and the entire healthcare system. This is just another way to realize that a preventative approach, holistic healthcare and natural treatments are often the safest way to go.

Conventional treatment and medication, however, still may be necessary and even life-saving to some. It is essential to do your research and seek second (and third) opinions before accepting a treatment and medication, and being extra cautious, especially when it comes to opioids.

What do you think about this case? Do you know any victims of the opioid epidemic? Do you seek second opinions and do your research after seeing your doctor?  What natural methods do you use to work on improving your health? Share your thoughts in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.

  1. http://time.com/4896141/president-trump-opioid-national-emergency/
  2. https://www.forbes.com/profile/john-kapoor/#6fe445ca7e7d
  3. http://fortune.com/2018/03/10/jerrold-rosenberg-opioid-kickbacks/
  4. http://sirf-online.org/2015/07/14/the-darkening-world-of-insys-therapeutics/
  5. http://fortune.com/2015/12/08/narcan-opioid-heroin-drug-overdose/
  6. https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/health/2017/10/30/arrested-billionaire-john-kapoor-resigns-board-chandler-insys-therapeutics/813447001/
  7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelatindera/2017/11/16/fentanyl-billionaire-john-kapoor-to-plead-not-guilty-in-opioid-kickback-case/#635443106c6c
  8. https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/health/2018/08/08/insys-settlement-near-opioid-fentanyl-kickback-case-john-kapoor/941409002/

Kat Gal

Kat Gal

Kat is a professional holistic health writer who helps health, wellness and nutrition businesses to market their products and services through quality online content. She has been writing online content since 2011. Her main expertise lies in holistic health, mental health, nutrition, wellness, and personal development, but she also enjoys writing about traveling, green living, relationships and education. Kat is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach and holds a MSc in Educational Sciences and Children’s Rights, BA in Psychology and Certificate in TESOL.Kat is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She has traveled to over 40 countries and lived in over 10 of them across 4 continents. Kat is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world.
Kat Gal

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