Insys founder Kapoor gets 5.5 years in prison for role in Subsys kickback scheme

kapoor
Kapoor was convicted in May on racketeering and wire and mail fraud charges. (AP)

With federal prosecutors laying waste to Insys' executive team, one big domino was still left to fall: Founder and former CEO John Kapoor, who had a leading role in the drugmaker's opioid kickback scheme. Now, Kapoor will face a stiff prison sentence that sets the bar for executives in the opioid industry. 

A federal judge in Boston sentenced Kapoor on Thursday to five and a half years in prison for his role in a doctor kickback scheme to boost subscriptions of Subsys, an under-the-tongue fentanyl spray.

The 66-month sentence is far less than the prosecutor-recommended term of 15 years in prison but still represents the stiffest penalty a leading executive at an opioid maker has faced for a role in the nation's addiction epidemic.

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Kapoor was convicted in May on federal racketeering and mail and wire fraud charges in a companywide scheme in which Insys sales reps were directed to entice doctors to prescribe Subsys through an elaborate series of kickbacks. The plan included visits to strip clubs, “lavish” dining and entertainment outings, and jobs for relatives and friends of people who prescribed Subsys. 

A federal judge in November vacated the racketeering portion of Kapoor's sentence, arguing prosecutors had not presented evidence showing Kapoor and three former Insys sales executives intended for under-the-tongue fentanyl spray Subsys to be prescribed to patients for nonmedical purposes.

RELATED: 'Pharmaceutical dystopia': Former Insys exec decries sexist hiring in sentencing memo

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