Brainstorm Health: Opioid Crisis Reckoning, Sanofi Dengue Vaccine, Human Trafficking


Brainstorm Health: Opioid Crisis Reckoning, Sanofi Dengue Vaccine, Human Trafficking, Brainstorm Health Daily: May 2, 2019

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By Sy Mukherjee
May 2, 2019

Good afternoon, readers.

There may never be true justice for the countless American families who have suffered in the opioid addiction epidemic—a crisis for which the medical industry itself carries plenty of blame. But one of the key figures accused of contributing to the crisis faced a reckoning on Thursday.

John Kapoor, founder of Insys Therapeutics, was found guilty of racketeering (along with four co-defendants) by a Boston jury. Insys had been accused of bribing doctors to prescribe the powerful painkiller fentanyl and lying to insurance companies.

The conviction is a milestone in pharmaceutical prosecution—the first instance of major drug company executives taking a legal hit over their firms' alleged tactics to sell addictive pain medication by any means possible, legal or otherwise.

'Today's convictions mark the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids,' said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling in a statement following the decision. 'Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical executives responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way.'

Pharmaceutical executives who emulated Kapoor's and Insys' tactics have reason to fear if the federal government continues down this path.

Read on for the day's news.

Sy Mukherjee @the_sy_guysayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

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