Struggling Insys swaps CEOs as Subsys marketing crackdown continues

Insys has appointed its next CEO after Saeed Mohatari resigned. (Pixabay)

Insys has weathered years of litigation, investigations and allegations of illegal sales practices to pump up powerful painkiller Subsys. Now, hoping to revamp its business and its rep, the company has brought in a new CEO. 

The drugmaker Tuesday tapped Andrew Long to replace the now-former chief, Saeed Mohatari, effective immediately. Long joined the drugmaker in August 2017 as chief financial officer, bringing experience from roles at Patheon, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Cambrex and Abbott Laboratories.  

Insys’ swap at the top caps a challenging stint for Mohatari, who joined the drugmaker in March 2017 from Purdue Pharma. During Mohatari's two-year stint, Insys took one legal blow after another, and shares dropped by more than half. Insys faces a host of allegations that it paid doctors to prescribe Subsys via sham educational events and encouraged them to prescribe the powerful opioid for unapproved uses and at higher-than-recommended doses. 

RELATED: Former Insys sales executive to shell out $9.5M in opioid spray kickback scheme 

Last August, Insys agreed to settle a federal probe into its Subsys sales practices for $150 million. More recently, Insys’ sales strategies for the drug have played out in court in the racketeering trial of Insys’ billionaire founder John Kapoor and four other executives.

Former sales manager Alec Burlakoff recently agreed to pay $9.5 million and admit his role in managing a Subsys kickback scheme. He pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in November. Burlakoff also agreed to assist in an ongoing investigation into Kapoor. 

In an annual securities filing last month, Insys said it faces investigations from Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the SEC and numerous states.

Along with Long’s appointment, Insys also named Andrece Housley CFO and Dr. Venkat Goskonda as its chief scientific officer.