Former Insys sales exec sentenced to a year in prison for offering lap dances to encourage fentanyl spray prescriptions

pharmafile | January 23, 2020 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing insys, pharma 

A sales executive at the disgraced and bankrupted firm Insys who was accused of offering lap dances in order to persuade physicians to prescribe the company’s addictive opioid painkiller products has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison, it has emerged.

Sunrise Lee, former Regional Director for the firm and a former stripper, was handed one of the most severe sentences so far in the ongoing legal case. Former CEO Michael Babich was sentenced to 30 months in prison just prior.

In her defence, Lee accused her employers of sexist conduct in directing her and female exotic dancers to use their sexuality as a bribe in order to bribe and manipulate “lonely, overworked” physicians in the sector.

She alleged that former VP of Sales Alec Burlakoff had directed her to simply “smile and close” in her mission.

“The obvious inference from these words of wisdom were to flaunt her physical beauty and or sexuality until she closed the Subsys deal with each doctor,” argued Lee’s attorneys. “If Big Pharma was not in the business of exploiting women in exchange for profit, there would never have been a Sunrise Lee for the Court to sentence in this case.”

Insys was accused of engaging in a concerted effort to generate a series of kickback payments through illicit means early last year, centring specifically on prescriptions for its sublingual fentanyl spray Subsys. So far, CEOs Babich and John Kapoor have also been found guilty, followed earlier this month by former VP Muchael Gurry and this week by National Sales Director Richard Simon and Regional Sales Director Joseph Rowan.

Matt Fellows

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