Big Pharma billionaire and CEO John Kapoor was arrested by federal agents for allegedly bribing doctors into prescribing a highly addictive opioid pain medication and destroying untold thousands of lives, the Department of Justice said.
John Kapoor, the founder and CEO of Insys Therapeutics, Inc., is accused of “leading a nationwide conspiracy to profit by using bribes and fraud to cause the illegal distribution of Subsys, a powerful Fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain,” the DOJ said.
The arrest came on the same day President Trump declared a national emergency to fight opioid addiction in the United States. “We owe it to our children and to our country to do everything in our power to address this national shame and human tragedy,” Trump said.
Big Pharma boss John Kapoor faces several felony charges, including RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law, and is facing decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines, according to UPI.
“In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb.
He added: “We must hold the industry and its leadership accountable — just as we would the cartels or a street-level drug dealer.“
The arrest of the Big Pharma billionaire has added weight to claims that doctors are operating irresponsibly, endangering the health and lives of their patients, as they seek to make as much money as possible from the Big Pharma companies.
Calls for doctors to publicly declare their financial deals with pharmaceutical companies have gained popularity in recent years, as public awareness grows regarding the Big Pharma racket.
What can you do?
According to ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” website, which you can use to find out if your doctor accepts money from Big Pharma companies. 1,630 companies have made payments to more than 681,000 doctors in the United States, totaling more than $3.5 billion.
You can also find out if your doctor receives payments from Big Pharma by visiting OpenPaymentsData.cms.gov. This site has tallied nearly $6.5 billion in payments since 2013.
Drug companies have long tried to influence doctors’ prescribing habits by paying them for research activities, speaking and other “consulting,” or offering gifts of free meals and travel. However, it hasn’t always been possible to find out what gifts your own doctor might be accepting.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in 2013. For the first time, the Act requires drug and medical device makers to collect and disclose any payments of more than $10 made to physicians and teaching hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in charge of implementing the Sunshine Act, which it has done via its Open Payments Program. You can easily search the site to find out about payments your doctor has received, along with the nature of the payments.