by E.Roy



Last year president Donald Trump declared America’s opioid crisis a national emergency. Governors from New Hampshire to Florida are seeking new innovative ways to deal with the increased number of deaths caused by opioid overdoses. In the last three years, the number of people died of a drug overdose has nearly doubled. But to America’s new drug pushers, that statistic is merely an inconvenient fact to be conveniently disregarded.

America’s drug pushers are no longer scary looking guys hanging around street corners pushing dimes to unwitting teenagers or unsuspected drug addicts. It is no longer the stash houses in dilapidated neighborhoods where drug dealers congregate to distribute drugs and count their money with guns at the ready for any eventuality. The new drug pushers do not carry guns nor are they always on the lookout for the police or meddlesome neighbors. The new drug pushers have huge offices in America’s best cities, occupying prime real estate with hundreds of well-educated people working for them that produce the merchandise. Once at the ready, the new merchandise is being distributed by a network of another well-educated group called “Top Docs” – sometimes the best among peers whose only concern is money.


US pharmaceuticals are the new drug kingpins pushing their distributors to prescribe as many addictive painkillers as possible to patients regardless of medical need. Their new mantra is NO SCRIPTS NO PROGRAMS.  Meet one of the worst: INSYS THERAPEUTICS. Insys Therapeutics is the maker of the highly addictive substance Subsys. Subsys is the spray form of the highly addictive painkiller fentanyl, a very dangerous and potentially fatal narcotic that is 100 times more potent than morphine.


After the FDA approved Subsys in 2012 as the spray form of Fentanyl, executives at Insys Therapeutics, an Arizona based company entered a kickback scheme with pain management doctors in an attempt to increase the sale of the drug. The details of the scheme were outlined on a recent indictment unsealed in Federal District Court of New York in Manhattan  charging five New York doctors (Gordon Freeman of Manhattan; Jeffrey Goldstein of New Rochelle, NY; Todd Schlifstein of  Manhattan; Dialecti Voudroutis of Manhattan; and Alexandru Burducea of Little Neck, New York)  for participating in a bribery scheme in order to increase the drug company’s sales. According to the indictment, INSYS paid the doctors over a $100,000 a year for prescribing millions of dollars’ worth of fentanyl.


The scheme involved four groups of people: Insys, Insys sales representatives, a sham speaker’s bureau and a group of New York Doctors. Insys used the sham speaker bureau to book doctors for speaking engagements presented as educational opportunities to learn about the drug. Except that the education programs did not take place. Insys employees forged the names of health care practitioners who never attended the programs. The so-called educational programs were more like a social gathering of top docs. The sham-speaker bureau paid the doctors directly as to make it look like the fees are not from Insys.  According to the indictment, two former Insys employees – Jonathan Roper and Fernando Serrano, who plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy are cooperating with the US attorney spilling the beans.


Meanwhile, federal prosecutors in Boston have already brought charges against John Kapoor, Insys’s founder and chief executive including several other top executives and many sales managers. All of them have already pleaded guilty to bribing doctors in exchange for pushing the drug fentanyl on patients. One Rhode Island doctor, Jerrold Rosenberg was sentenced to four years in prison, a very light sentence considering the kind of sentences that federal judges often hand out to drug pushers from inner cities.


As the president is calling for stiffer sentences for drug kingpins and in some cases the death penalty, please do not forget to include executives from pharmaceutical companies and their well-educated drug pushers with MD degrees.

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