Physician tells jury 'beautiful sales reps' influenced his unnecessary prescribing of opioids

Michigan-based pain management physician Gavin Awerbuch, MD, on Jan. 30 testified that Insys Therapeutics' "beautiful" sales representatives and financial gifts persuaded him to write unnecessary prescriptions for the company's highly addictive opioid painkiller Subsys, reports Bloomberg.

"They had beautiful sales reps, and I liked the attention I was getting," Dr. Awerbuch told a Boston jury. "I felt like I was becoming friends with these Insys employees."

Dr. Awerbuch's testimony was part of a racketeering case against Insys founder John Kapoor and other executives who allegedly bribed physicians to write Subsys prescriptions by giving them fake speaker's fees. Dr. Awerbuch said he made more than $130,000 in 18 months by attending sham educational sessions.

"It was just easy money for me. I got paid $1,600 to show up, have a nice meal and go home," he testified. Dr. Awerbuch also said he doled out inappropriate Subsys prescriptions to ensure he could keep collecting speaker fees.

Last February, Dr. Awerbuch was sentenced to two years in prison for illegally distributing Subsys. Prosecutors postponed the start of his prison term until this March so he could testify at the hearing.

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