Skip to Main Content

The founder of Insys Therapeutics was sentenced to 5½ years in federal prison Thursday for conspiring to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid painkiller, shortly after five patients who used the fentanyl spray made wrenching statements about how it ravaged their lives.

U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs gave John Kapoor, 76, easily the longest prison sentence of seven defendants convicted in the racketeering case. She did so despite pleas from his lawyer and from Kapoor to show mercy because of his age and accomplishments.


Earlier in the day, a former Insys executive who dressed as a giant fentanyl spray bottle in a rap video that championed the firm’s drug was sentenced to 26 months in prison for participating in the conspiracy. A prosecutor had urged a lighter sentence for Alec Burlakoff because the former vice president of sales had pleaded guilty and testified at trial for the government.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!