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Drug Firm Founder Indicted In Opioid Conspiracy Pleads Not Guilty

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The founder of a pharmaceutical company charged with leading a conspiracy to bribe doctors to prescribe a powerful opioid pain medication for thousands of people who didn't need it has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

John Kapoor of Insys Therapeutics Inc., who was arrested in Arizona last month, made his first appearance in Boston's federal courthouse on Thursday.

john kapoor
John Kapoor of Insys Therapeutics Inc. (Image credit: CBS News)

Kapoor and other Insys executives are accused of offering kickbacks to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for a fentanyl-based pain medication that's meant for cancer patients. Most people who received prescriptions did not have cancer.

According to CBS News, in 2016, Insys made 18,000 payments to doctors totaling more than two million dollars.

Prosecutors say they also mislead insurance providers to get them to approve payment for the drug for non-cancer patients.

Kapoor's attorney has said his client is not guilty.

"They referred to him as a co-conspirator as recently as two months ago," said attorney Brian Kelly. "He knows about this investigation, he wants to stand and fight."

His defense attorney is also seeking modifications to conditions of his release, including eliminating Kapoor's  electronic-monitoring bracelet.

Prosecutors say Kapoor is a flight risk, though, and has access to private aircraft. "If he leaves we would have difficulty getting him back," said federal prosecutor Nat Yeager.

Kelly fought back saying, "He definitely would have fleed by now if he wanted to. He knew about the case, he had the same money months ago that he has now."

"They have made allegations about different marketing and sales techniques by the company, he was not involved in that at all."

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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