Former drug firm executive admits to opioid kickback scheme

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

Alec Burlakoff pleaded guilty Wednesday in Boston’s federal court. 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.

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. Kapoor and several other defendants are scheduled to go to trial in January.

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