In a media briefing held at the White House on October 26, President Trump declared opioid abuse a “public health emergency." At the same time, authorities in Phoenix, Arizona took pharma executive John Kapoor into custody. The charges against him included pushing Subsys, a very powerful narcotic drug, for profit.

Kapoor, whose net worth is $1.75 billion, is now the highest-ranking pharma executive to be arrested and indicted on opioid-related charges. His company, Insys, “allegedly worked hand in glove with doctors to expand the market for the powerful agents.”

Insys has made $417 million from the drug Subsys, a spray made from fentanyl to be placed under the tongue for effective and fast pain relief. Subsys was initially targeted toward cancer patients suffering from severe pain, but slow sales prompted Kapoor to use bribes and kickbacks so doctors would expand its prescribed use.

The rapid onset and short duration of fentanyl have unfortunately led to thousands of overdose deaths and is reputed to be deadlier than heroin. Its euphoric and analgesic effects are an incredibly volatile combination, especially for anyone with an addictive personality.

Kapoor has denied the charges brought against him, and his lawyer, Brian Kelly, said $1 million in bail was posted for Kapoor after his hearing in Phoenix. Kapoor remains chairman of Akorn, a manufacturer of generic prescription drugs.

The extent of the opioid epidemic will undoubtedly continue to dominate the media as more research and more stories come to the surface. We at MedTruth will keep you updated as this issue develops.