Former Insys Therapeutics vice president of sales Alec Burlakoff agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle claims that he bribed doctors to write prescriptions for the company’s potent fentanyl spray through a bogus speaker program, causing a devastating impact on individuals and families, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said.
As part of the settlement agreement, Burlakoff will shell out $5.2 million in compensation he received from Insys stock and $4.3 million in civil penalties. He is also permanently barred from any executive level jobs at companies that market or sell prescription pharmaceuticals or medical devices in Arizona.
Burlakoff pled guilty in November to racketeering conspiracy in federal court in a separate criminal case over similar charges. As part of his plea deal with Brnovich, Burlakoff agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify in the ongoing case against former Insys executives and employees.
In January 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved Subsys for the management of breakthrough cancer pain in patients already on around-the-clock opioid therapy. Insys sales team allegedly pushed doctors to prescribe the drug for other conditions. Subsys, which contains the dangerously potent opioid fentanyl, is highly addictive and has contributed to several overdose deaths.
News of Burlakoff’s plea deal comes just days after Purdue Pharma and members of the family that own the drug company, agreed to pay the state of Oklahoma $270 million to settle claims that it misled health care providers about the potency and highly addictive nature of its opioid OxyContin.
Opioids like OxyContin, Subsys, and illicit heroin caused a record 47,600 deaths in the United States in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.