Painkillers and corruption

The billionaire founder of a leading US drug manufacturer has been found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe a highly addictive painkiller to patients, many of whom did not need it.

John Kapoor, of Insys Therapeutics, was convicted of fraud and racketeering, charges stemming from the tactics his firm used to sell Subsys, a spray manufactured from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid far stronger than heroin. Insys’s marketing strategy revolved around inducing doctors to prescribe the drug in ever higher doses by offering them lucrative fees for giving speeches about Subsys at phoney events.

Although Subsys was designed for cancer patients suffering unbearable pain, many of the people to whom it was prescribed were not cancer sufferers. The firm’s staff also posed as healthcare providers to mislead patients’ insurers about their need for the drug. Four other executives were convicted alongside Kapoor.  (The Week 11 May 2019)

As a former worker for a pharmaceutical company I am somewhat cynical to start with about the ethics of some of the drug marketing and the huge profits made by manufacturers.  They tell us that the cost of research and development are huge, and failures are frequent.  They fail to mention that very often at least part of the research is done by governments and universities, and it is they who profit.  But the above behaviour is simply disgusting and immoral..  It seems the big profits earned have attracted straightforward crooks.  At least I never had to work for crooks.

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