Ex-drug company execs face reckoning in opioid bribery case

The founder and former top employees of Insys Therapeutics are facing a reckoning for their role in a bribery scheme that prosecutors say boosted sales of a highly addictive painkiller and helped fuel the opioid epidemic. Starting Monday, seven people who worked for Arizona-based Insys will appear in Boston to be sentenced by a federal judge. The case against founder John Kapoor and his associates was considered the first that sought to hold an opioid maker and its executives criminally liable for the drug crisis. At least two other companies, a drug distributor in New York and another in Ohio, have since been hit with criminal charges. Other prominent industry names — specifically OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, which owns it — have only faced lawsuits, which carry no threat of prison time. Prosecutors say Insys paid millions in bribes to doctors so they’d overprescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-based oral spray meant to ease cancer patients’ pain. Insys also used other questionable marketing tactics, according to prosecutors; one sales executive gave a physician a lap dance at a club. Kapoor and four others were convicted last year of racketeering conspiracy. Two others pleaded guilty. Insys has since filed for bankruptcy protection. Prosecutors are seeking 15 years for Kapoor, arguing he was the “fulcrum” of the scheme. For the other defendants, prosecutors seek sentences ranging from five to 11 years. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Gas prices jump 4 cents per gallon to $2.64 in past 3 weeks

The average US price of regular-grade gasoline has jumped 4 cents per gallon to $2.64 over the past three weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that gas prices are unlikely to continue to increase because crude oil costs have dropped. The price at the pump is 33 cents higher than it was a year ago. The highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.58 per gallon, in Honolulu. The lowest is $2.21, in Houston. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Aramco’s ‘greenshoe option’ pushes IPO to record $29.4B

Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco said Sunday that its initial public offering raised a record $29.4 billion, more than previously announced, after the company used a so-called greenshoe option to sell millions more shares to meet investor demand. The sale of an additional 450 million shares took place during the IPO process. The oil and gas company, majority owned by the state, began trading on the Saudi Tadawul exchange Dec. 11. It hit upward of $10 a share on the second day of trading, giving Aramco a market capitalization of $2 trillion, making it the world’s most valuable company. Aramco’s additional sales mean it has publicly floated 1.7 percent of its shares. Its IPO, even before the added sales, was the world’s largest ever. The shares traded down on Sunday, dipping to about 34.7 riyals, or $9.25 each. Sunday’s trading figures value Aramco at $1.85 trillion, still well ahead of Apple, the second-largest company in the world after Aramco. — ASSOCIATED PRESS