Tag Archives: pharma legal news

6 pharma executives face criminal charges for alleged fentanyl racketeering scheme

Six pharmaceutical executives who worked for Chandler, Ariz.-based Insys Therapeutics were arrested Thursday on charges that they led a nationwide conspiracy to bribe clinicians to unnecessarily prescribe fentanyl-based pain medication, according to the Department of Justice.

The government claims the executives conspired to bribe physicians and medical practitioners in several states, many of whom worked in pain clinics, to prescribe their pain medication called Subsys. This narcotic contains fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, and is intended to treat cancer patients suffering intense episodes of breakthrough pain.

In exchange for kickbacks and bribes, practitioners allegedly wrote large numbers of prescriptions for patients, few of whom were diagnosed with cancer. The indictment also alleges the former Insys executives conspired to defraud health insurers that showed reluctance to approve payment for Subsys when it was prescribed to non-cancer patients. The defendants allegedly did so by establishing a “reimbursement unit” that obtained prior authorization directly from insurers and pharmacy benefit managers.

Here are the names of the defendants, all of whom are no longer employed by Insys Therapeutics, along with the respective charges they face:

  • Michael Babich, former president and CEO: conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Alec Burlakoff, former vice president of sales: Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Richard M. Simon, former national director of sales: RICO conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Sunrise Lee, former regional sales director: RICO conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Joseph A. Rowan, former regional sales director: RICO conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law
  • Michael J. Gurry, former vice president of managed markets: RICO conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy

Criminal charges are rarely pressed in cases involving pharmaceutical companies, and several agents noted the severity of the charges in statements.

Full Read – http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/legal-regulatory-issues/6-pharma-executives-face-criminal-charges-for-alleged-fentanyl-racketeering-scheme.html

Drug industry hired dozens of officials from the DEA as the agency tried to curb opioid abuse

By Scott Higham, Lenny Bernstein, Steven Rich and Alice Crites

Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture or distribute highly addictive pain pills have hired dozens of officials from the top levels of the Drug Enforcement Administration during the past decade, according to a Washington Post investigation.

The hires came after the DEA launched an aggressive campaign to curb a rising opioid epidemic that has resulted in thousands of overdose deaths each year. In 2005, the DEA began to crack down on companies that were distributing inordinate numbers of pills such as oxycodone to pain-management clinics and pharmacies around the country.

Since then, the pharmaceutical companies and law firms that represent them have hired at least 42 officials from the DEA — 31 of them directly from the division responsible for regulating the industry, according to work histories compiled by The Post and interviews with current and former agency officials.

The number of hires has prompted some current and former government officials to ask whether the companies raided the division to hire away DEA officials who were architects of the agency’s enforcement campaign or were most responsible for enforcing the laws the firms were accused of violating.

“The number of employees recruited from that division points to a deliberate strategy by the pharmaceutical industry to hire people who are the biggest headaches for them,” said John Carnevale, former director of planning for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, who now runs a consulting firm. “These people understand how DEA operates, the culture around diversion and DEA’s goals, and they can advise their clients how to stay within the guidelines.”

Read Full – https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/key-officials-switch-sides-from-dea-to-pharmaceutical-industry/2016/12/22/55d2e938-c07b-11e6-b527-949c5893595e_story.html?utm_term=.a6e6664d1a03