| BOSTON, June 6
BOSTON, June 6 Prosecutors probing sales of a
fentanyl-based drug made by Insys Therapeutics Inc say
a former company manager accused of conspiring to defraud
insurers into paying for the painkiller has agreed to plead
guilty and cooperate with authorities.
Elizabeth Gurrieri, a former manager of reimbursement
services for Arizona-based Insys, will plead guilty to one count
of wire fraud conspiracy, prosecutors said in a letter filed in
Boston federal court on Monday.
The filing is part of the criminal case against six ex-Insys
executives and managers including former Chief Executive Michael
Babich, who prosecutors say participated in a scheme to bribe
doctors to prescribe the drug, Subsys.
Gurrieri would become the second former Insys employee
nationally to plead guilty in connection with Subsys, an
under-the-tongue spray containing fentanyl, a highly addictive
and regulated synthetic opioid.
The Queen Creek, Arizona resident's agreement to cooperate
came as Insys works to reach a settlement with the U.S. Justice
Department in connection with the investigation.
Gurrieri's lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
Insys declined to comment. It has said it is has been working to
improve its compliance practices and is cooperating with
Prosecutors alleged in December that Babich and others led a
conspiracy to bribe medical practitioners to unnecessarily
prescribe Subsys through payments disguised as marketing event
and speaker fees.
Other defendants include former Insys vice presidents Alec
Burlakoff and Michael Gurry; former national sales director
Richard Simon; and former regional sales directors Sunrise Lee
and Joseph Rowan. All six have pleaded not guilty.
The case against Gurrieri related to what prosecutors said
was a push by Insys to get insurers to cover the expensive price
of Subsys, which in 2013 cost about $2,340 for 60 units.
According to a separate criminal complaint, Gurrieri and
others at Insys directed fraudulent schemes to deceive insurers
and pharmacy benefit managers in order to obtain payment
authorization for Subsys.
The complaint said Insys employees were taught to mislead
insurers about the diagnosis of patients and whether they had
tried and failed other preferred medications.
Gurrieri also instructed employees to claim a cancer
diagnosis regardless of the patient's history or whether Subsys
was prescribed for a use not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, the complaint said.
The cases in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts,
are U.S. v. Babich et al, No. 16-cr-10343, and U.S. v. Gurrieri,
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Steve