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Criminal Charges Against Insys Founder and Executives Again Highlight Big Pharma’s Role in the Opioid Crisis


In a case that will be under a microscope for a variety of reasons, the criminal trial of John Kapoor and four other Insys Therapeutics executives began today in a federal courtroom in Boston.  Kapoor is the founder of Insys, a manufacturer of a brand of fentanyl, an incredibly powerful narcotic medication. The federal government alleges that Insys bribed and paid kickbacks to physicians in a nationwide scheme designed to increase sales of Subsys, an under-the-tongue fentanyl spray originally used as a painkiller for the most severe pain experienced by cancer patients. Part of this illicit scheme involved inducing some doctors (who were willing participants) to prescribe Subsys to non-cancer patients and deceiving health insurers into paying for the treatments.

The details of the criminal charges against Kapoor and several other Insys employees are shocking to say the least. They are an all too frequent reminder of how drug manufacturers and physicians put profit over patient safety - turning their heads to the risk of addiction while reaping the financial rewards. The federal government has charged the Insys executives under the RICO Act, usually reserved for criminal cases involving mafia and drug-related criminal enterprises. These cases in Boston are the first criminal trials of pharmaceutical executives for the illicit marketing of opioid drugs. The trial is expected to last up to 3 months.  

Patients and families of patients who became addicted to opioids after being improperly prescribed Subsys may have a claim for damages under Massachusetts law. The personal injury attorneys at SUGARMAN are dedicated to helping patients and families affected by the opioid crisis – please call one of our partners to discuss your potential medical malpractice claim at 617-542-1000 or fill out a Contact Form, or e-mail