Phoenix billionaire accused of bribes to sell his company's opioids

John Kapoor was arrested for allegedly leading a nationwide conspiracy to sell more prescriptions of Subsys.

PHOENIX – The Phoenix billionaire accused of leading a nationwide scheme to get doctors to over-prescribe a powerful painkiller was arrested and faced a judge Thursday afternoon.

The indictment against John Kapoor, 74 -- the CEO of a Valley pharmaceutical company called Insys -- accuses him of bribing medical professionals to prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication, even to patients who don't need it.

RELATED: Founder of Chandler drug maker indicted in US-wide opioid conspiracy

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the drug's maker was giving doctors speaking fees in exchange for prescribing Subsys after six other people were arrested for their connection with the bribery.

Subsys is a sublingual fentanyl spray, used as a powerful painkiller.

The FDA approved it for use on patients who experience what’s called breakthrough cancer pain.

But Kapoor is being accused of bribing 10 medical professionals and four pharmacies to prescribe the drug to patients who do not qualify -- all for the sake of making a profit, according to court paperwork.

The judge ordered Kapoor’s release on a $1 million secured cash bond on the condition he is under electronic monitoring to keep him in Maricopa County, excluding making court appearances in Massachusetts related to this case.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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