Menu Close

A former opioid sales executive has admitted to participating in a conspiracy to bribe doctors to prescribe a highly addictive fentanyl spray.

Alec Burlakoff changed his plea to guilty on November 28, 2018 in a Boston federal courtroom. Prosecutors say the former vice president of sales for Insys Therapeutics has agreed to cooperate with them in the closely-watched case targeting executives at the Chandler, Arizona company, including billionaire founder John Kapoor. His sentencing will occur at a later date.

On December 6, 2016, the defendants, former executives and managers of Insys Therapeutics Inc., were charged by indictment by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts with conspiracy to commit racketeering, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback law in relation to a nationwide conspiracy to bribe medical practitioners to unnecessarily prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication and defraud payers of the medication, including insurers.

The Insys executives are accused of paying kickbacks to doctors willing to write large numbers of prescriptions for the powerful medication Subsys, which is meant for cancer patients with severe pain. Prosecutors say the kickbacks were disguised as speaking fees for events billed as opportunities for other doctors to learn about the drug.

The indictment alleges that Michael L. Babich, 40, of Scottsdale, Ariz., the former CEO and President of the company; Alec Burlakoff, 42, of Charlotte, N.C., former Vice President of Sales; Richard M. Simon, 46, of Seal Beach, Calif., former National Director of Sales; former Regional Sales Directors, Sunrise Lee, 36, of Bryant City, Mich. and Joseph A. Rowan, 43, of Panama City, Fla.; and former Vice President of Managed Markets, Michael J. Gurry, 53, of Scottsdale, Ariz., conspired to bribe practitioners in various states, many of whom operated pain clinics, in order to get them to prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication, called Subsys.

Subsys is a powerful narcotic intended to treat cancer patients suffering intense episodes of breakthrough pain. In exchange for bribes and kickbacks, the practitioners wrote large numbers of prescriptions for the patients, most of whom were not diagnosed with cancer.

A status hearing has been scheduled for December 6, 2018, 03:30 PM for the remaining defendants. A pretrial motion hearing has been scheduled for defendant John Kapoor December 6, 2018, 03:30 PM at Courtroom 14, John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA for defendant(s) John N. Kapoor before Judge Jennifer Boal.

Trial is scheduled to begin January 28, 2019 09:00 AM in Courtroom 17 before Judge Allison D. Burroughs