Welcome to Pedagogy   |   Sign In

Partially Overturned Convictions In Pharmaceutical Synthetic Opioid Case

The convictions of four former top executives of Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company, have been partially overturned by a federal judge in Boston. 

Two of the four convictions of Insys founder John Kapoor and three other former executives were thrown out by US District Court Judge Allison Burroughs in a ruling Tuesday.

Burroughs overturned convictions for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act and for alleged honest services fraud arising from the executives' part in marketing and selling Subsys.

The drug is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that was intended to manage cancer pain.

Judge Burroughs called the conduct of the pharmaceutical company and the defendants "reprehensible," saying they tried to "financially incentivize" doctors to prescribe Subsys without regard for their patients' health. However, she found that the government failed to prove key elements needed for conviction of Kapoor and three other former colleagues -- Richard Simon, Sunrise Lee, and Joseph Rowan.

A fifth executive, Michael Gurry, was convicted in May of mail fraud and wire fraud. Those convictions still stand.

In her 85-page ruling Judge Burroughs wrote, "although the evidence clearly shows that Defendants intended to try to sell as much Subsys as possible and wanted healthcare practitioners to prescribe it and to prescribe it at the higher and more expensive doses, there is not evidence sufficient to prove that Defendants specifically intended, much less intended beyond a reasonable doubt, that healthcare practitioners would prescribe Subsys to patients that did not need it or to otherwise abdicate entirely their role as healthcare providers."

In other words, the men did not ask doctors to prescribe the drug to patients who did not need it.

'Landmark' prosecution

In her explanation for overturning the second conviction on honest services fraud, Burroughs said "the Government did not establish that any defendant agreed and specifically intended that a healthcare practitioner would prescribe Subsys outside the usual course of medical practice and without any legitimate medical purpose."

That is, while Insys pressured doctors to prescribe Subsys in high amounts, the drug was still going to patients with legitimate medical issues.

The ruling is a setback for federal prosecutors who hailed the May convictions as "the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids," and said the verdict was a landmark prosecution, and a victory against executives who put greed ahead of the American public.

From 1999 to 2017, almost 400,000 people died from an overdose involving opioids -- including prescription and illicit opioids, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite this win for the defendants, all still face sentencing in January for their convictions on mail fraud and wire fraud charges. After the partial overturning of their convictions, it's unclear what the defendants' maximum potential sentencing could be.

The US attorney's office had no comment on Tuesday's ruling. Lawyers for Kapoor and Gurry did not return requests for comment. CNN was unable to immediately ascertain who represents the other defendants.

Article by CNN

Pedagogy offers online continuing nurse education course on pain management, with a review of alternative pain control options as well as standard treatment options. Many states are requiring nurses and medication prescribers to have continuing education regarding appropriate opioid use and abuse of these medications.  

Current Concepts in Adult Pain Management


This instructional course has been designed to provide current concepts and skills related to pain management. As research sheds light on pain management issues and treatment methods, healthcare professionals are expected to maintain competency in assessing and treating their patients’ pain, as well as managing the side effects of those pain control interventions. This course contains current practices for best patient outcomes. This course provides 4.0 contact hours of continuing education.

This course fulfills the requirement for 2 hours of continuing education in pain and symptom management for nurses in Michigan.

Drug Misuse, Abuse and Diversion for West Virginia Healthcare Professionals

Nurses practicing in West Virginia are required, by law, to complete at least 3 contact hours of continuing education on the subject of prescription drug abuse and diversion initially and at least one contact hour every year thereafter. In order to satisfy the initial CE requirement, this course should be completed in combination with another course of at least two contact hours such as Pedagogy’s Current Concepts in Pain Management. The combination provides both general knowledge regarding pain management and West Virginia’s specific efforts to curb prescription substance abuse. This course meets the one contact-hour annual requirement for healthcare professionals who prescribe, dispense, and/or administer Schedule II – IV controlled substances and may be completed as a stand-alone course for that purpose.

Drug Misuse, Abuse and Diversion for New Mexico Healthcare Professionals

All advanced practice nurses, including certified nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists, with prescriptive authority practicing in New Mexico are required, by law, to complete five contact hours of continuing education on the subject of non-cancer pain management as part of the 15 hours of required pharmacology CE every 2 years. State-specific requirements include content related to CE rules developed by the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON). In order to satisfy this requirement, this state-specific course should be completed in combination with another course of at least four contact hours such as Pedagogy’s Current Concepts in Pain Management. The combination provides both general knowledge regarding pain management and New Mexico-specific content.
Pedagogy Newsletter
Subscribe to Pedagogy's Quarterly Newsletter

Subscribe


Copyright © 2020 Pedagogy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Powered by Kentico