Former drug company exec pleads guilty to opioid prescription bribing scheme: 6 things to know

Written by Shayna Korol | November 29, 2018 | Print  |

A former Insys Therapeutics executive pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to defraud insurers by bribing physicians to unnecessarily prescribe a fentanyl-based drug, according to NBC News.

Here are six things to know:

1. Alec Burlakoff was the former vice president of sales for Insys Therapeutics. Court documents revealed Mr. Burlakoff agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against Insys.

2. Prosecutors claim Mr. Burlakoff is the highest-level executive to admit wrongdoing in their investigation of the Insys' founder John Kapoor and five other co-defendants, all of whom have pleaded not guilty.

3. An updated indictment filed in September accuses Mr. Kapoor and the five other defendants of conspiring to bribe physicians for prescribing Subsys. Investigators allege the scheme was designed to boost sales and defraud insurers between 2012 and 2015.

Mr. Burlakoff and the others used pharmacy data to identify physicians who prescribed a high volume of opioids, according to the superseding indictment. They bribed the physicians with speaking engagements.

4. Subsys is an under-the-tongue spray for cancer pain management. A 30-day supply of Subsys can cost up to $30,000. The company generated $240 million in Subsys sales in 2016. The drug contains fentanyl, an opioid that the DEA claims is between 25 to 50 times more powerful than heroin.

5. In August, Insys agreed to pay $150 million to settle related claims.

6. Mr. Burlakoff pleaded guilty to a single count of racketeering conspiracy. He will be sentenced in May 2019.

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