Drugmaker head sentenced for role in scheme that contributed to opioid crisis: Part 2

John Kapoor, founder of Insys Therapeutics, was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison and ordered to pay $250,000 for his role in a scheme to coax doctors to prescribe the fentanyl spray SUBSYS.
8:24 | 01/24/20

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Transcript for Drugmaker head sentenced for role in scheme that contributed to opioid crisis: Part 2
Reporter: At insys therapeutics, Patty Nixon says lying was part of the job. We were instructed to say that we were calling from the physician's office that was treating that particular patient. Even though you knew you were calling from the pharmaceutical company? Correct. I was in a very small office in Chandler, Arizona, and I would call Alaska and say I was from Alaska. Sometimes I was from Hawaii, I was from wherever the patient was from and wherever the doctor was located. Reporter: Her role, she says, getting insurance compaes to sign off on payments for subsys prescriptions. One part of a years-long scheme that cheated millions of dollars from insurers, including medicare. The lies all based on a script, Patty says, that insys executives had instructed her to follow, what they called the spiel. A lot of it was word games. You know, when the insurance company would ask the question, "Does the patient have cancer with breakthrough cancer pain?" And when we would respond, we would say, "Yes, we're treating the breakthrough pain." So it -- eliminating the word "Cancer." What's the most haunting part of it for you? That people would die, and knowingly or unknowingly, it doesn't matter. I was a part of it. She was quirky. She was really sweet. Reporter: There is a quiet stillness in Deborah fuller's home. Here her daughter Sarah was planning her wedding. She was over the moon. Reporter: Sarah was battling chronic pain after a series of car accidents. When treatments had left her struggling with opioid addiction, they eventually turned to New Jersey family physician invest convenient matalon. What did you tell her? I said, "Sarah is addicted to painkillers. So when you deal with her chronic pain, you gotta find another avenue." Reporter: But Deborah says Dr. Matalon disregarded the family's plea. In January 2015, she prescribed Sarah subsys, a fentanyl spray approved specifically for severe cancer pain. In an appointment that Deborah says was accompanied by an insys rep. And one day later, that sales rep texting her manager about how to get Dr. Matalon into the insys speakers program, a front, prosecutors say, to bribe doctors for prescribing their drug. What is the patient's last name and date of birth? The last name is fuller, f-u-l-l-e-r. First name is Sarah. This is a ledger. Right. Reporter: The family's attorney, Richard hollawell, says he was able to track down exactly how Sarah got that fatal prescription. Getting a subpoena for the phone call an insys rep made to an insurance company, who was pretending to be from the doctor's office. You're calling from the doctor's office, correct? Yeah, Dr. Matalon's office. I would call it the murder weapon, the smoking gun. Reporter: Then misrepresenting her diagnosis. And what is the diagnosis for the patient? Let me look here. Medication intended for the management of breakthrough cancer pain. When I found out what it was designed for, to put these people in comfort when they're terminal. But why was Sarah taking it? She didn't have cancer at all. If they did not make that call, she would've never been approved for the drug. This is the carton that would come to miss fuller's home. This looks like a drugstore. This box alone is really disturbing. This is one month's supply of This is a 600 microgram spray. And this is $24,000 worth of pharmaceuticals in one box? In this box. Reporter: Just under 15 months after Sarah began taking subsys, she died. She was 32 years old. Her family sued insys and Dr. Matalon and are negligence and wrongful death. Sarah loved butterflies, purple. Her wedding day, we all met her, her fiance, us. It was really surreal, because we should be in a church watching her walk down the aisle, then a great reception. But that's not how it happened. I feel like if I would have spoke up sooner, then maybe I could have saved her life. You know, I don't think people really understand what it's like to live with this. Reporter: Patty had left insys before Sarah fuller's death, consumed by guilt and regret for her role in the prescription of subsys to countless patients. She testified before a grand jury during the indictment of insys' former CEO. It was really scary. I had to tell the truth. I had to tell what my job was and what I did, and what I did was illegal. So that was -- that was really scary. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me. And you were willing to face the consequences? Absolutely. You weren't asking to get out of -- No. -- Responsibility? No. I -- I -- I didn't -- I didn't ask for any plea deal. I'm not trying to profit from this. Reporter: In may 2018, the New Jersey board of medical examiners revoked Dr. Matalon's medical license. The fuller family and Dr. Matalon, who claimed she was misled by sales reps about using subsys to treat Sarah, reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum. Kapoor and other former insys executives were convicted in federal court back in may 2019, the former CEO faced up to 15 years in prison. His defense attorney reacting to the conviction saying, "Dr. Kapoor is disappointed in the verdict." She said they would keep fighting to clear his name. After eight months of waiting, Deborah finally arrived at a Boston courtroom to learn Kapoor's fate. During the sentencing hearing, several victims read impact statements, including Deborah and Jeff. Afterwards Kapoor apologized to them and their families. The judge then sentenced the former CEO to 5 1/2 years in prison. Dr. Kapoor's statement and the apology that he gave, I found that to be hollow. I think it's very easy to be apologetic when you are facing going to jail and trying to get a reduced prison sentence. He didn't have the courage to testify and try to justify the actions of his company. He spoke for the first time and for the judge to say, oh, I think that what I'm hearing from you, that you're a good man -- I was totally shocked by that. He's not a good man. I mean, let's be clear about that. Reporter: For Jeff and Deborah, this sentence isn't nearly enough. Justice I don't think can ever be served for the victims in this case, because we're all going to contend with lifelong issues. And again, those that lost their lives. So I don't know that there can ever be defined justice. We deserve justice and I don't think we got it. The people who died, the people whose lives were destroyed, they deserve better. They got away with murder and my daughter is dead because of what they did. Tremfya can help adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis

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