According to prosecutors, the founder of a drug company that sold powerful drugs gave cash to doctors in exchange for prescriptions. As a result, use of fentanyl spiked, causing addiction and even death for many users. While this is just one component of the current opioid epidemic in New York and throughout the country, federal prosecutors believe that it’s important to stamp down on the problem wherever they can.
The founder of the company and four additional executives are charged with racketeering conspiracy. While the founder maintains his innocence, two of the executives may be cooperating with prosecutors to provide evidence of his guilt. They are expected to tell a jury that the founder directed the scheme to increase profit.
The defendant’s lawyers in the case are accusing the prosecution of poisoning the jury pool and unfairly targeting the defendant. Prosecutors, however, say that the drug company played a significant role in making the opioid crisis worse by bribing doctors across the country to push prescriptions. In addition to criminal charges against its executives, the drug company is facing lawsuits from several overdose victims and their families.
Individuals accused of federal crimes related to drugs may want to seek representation from a lawyer as soon as they learn about the issue. Federal prosecutors have a lot of resources at their disposal, but defendants have the right to exercise their constitutional protections every step of the way. Plea agreements are common in federal cases, but it may be in the best interest of a defendant to go to trial. An attorney may recommend a course of action based on the evidence available and other circumstances involved.
Source: Christian Science Monitor, “Drug company founder on trial for prescription bribery scheme“, Alanna Durkin Richer Associated Press, 01/25/2019