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Pharmaceutical exec sentenced to prison in connection with opioid epidemic

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Former pharmaceutical executive and multi-billionaire John Kapoor was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in a Boston federal court Thursday after a months-long criminal trial, NPR reported

In May 2019, Kapoor and four other executives of Insys Therapeutics were found guilty of charges related to a racketeering scheme involving kickbacks for doctors who prescribed large quantities of fentanyl painkiller spray amid the opioid epidemic. 

Earlier on Thursday, Alec Burkaloff, another executive, was sentenced to 26 months in prison for his role in the bribery and fraud scheme, NPR reported.

The 66-month prison term is significantly less than the 15-year sentence federal prosecutors recommended. Kapoor’s defense attorneys had requested a one-year sentence, maintaining that their client was innocent and stressing the 75-year-old’s age as reason for a lighter prison sentence.

Though his sentence was less than what prosecutors wanted, the move to prosecute these executives for their contribution to the opioid epidemic is meant to serve as a warning for other pharmaceutical companies.

According to the complaint, bribes paid to practitioners who prescribed large amounts of the drug exceeded $200,000 in some cases. Physicians who took bribes to prescribe the drug to non-cancer patients reportedly operated in states including Michigan, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, New Hampshire, Alabama, Connecticut and Illinois.

Tags biopharmaceutical Boston John Kappor Massachusetts

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