BOSTON — Drug company executives weren’t satisfied with sales for their powerful painkiller, so they devised a plan, prosecutors say: Offer cash to doctors in exchange for prescriptions. Soon, the highly addictive fentanyl spray was flourishing, and executives were raking in millions.
Now, the company’s wealthy founder is heading to trial in a case that’s putting a spotlight on the federal government’s efforts to go after those it says are responsible for fueling the deadly drug crisis.
“It really is a day of reckoning,” said Richard Hollawell, an attorney for the parents of a New Jersey woman who died of an overdose in 2016 after she was prescribed Subsys, a drug meant for cancer patients with severe pain.
John Kapoor, the wealthy founder and former chairman of Chandler, Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics Inc., is the highest-ranking pharmaceutical company figure to face trial amid the opioid epidemic that’s claiming thousands of lives every year.