Ex-stripper Insys exec gave a doctor a LAP DANCE while persuading him to prescribe addictive fentanyl spray, court hears
- Sunrise Lee, a former stripper who became an Insys sales director, is accused of bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl spray
- The addictive spray (Subsys) was approved to relieve pain for cancer patients
- But doctors prescribed it to patients who did not have cancer
- Today, an Insys employee said Sunrise Lee performed a lap dance for one of the doctors who was being pushed to prescribe the drug
- The doctor, Paul Madison, allegedly had his hands ‘inappropriately all over her chest’ during the lap dance in a Chicago club
- Lee’s defense lawyers suggested that Lee was being taken advantage of
A former stripper turned regional sales director for Insys Therapeutics Inc gave a doctor a lap dance during negotiations persuading him to prescribe an addictive fentanyl spray, a court heard today.
Sunrise Lee took Paul Madison, an Illinois-based anesthesiologist, to the Underground, a top nightclub in Chicago, in 2012 with two other sales reps after a business dinner to discuss the drug, Subsys.
During the night, one of the other reps, Holly Brown, claims she saw Lee ‘sitting on his lap, kind of bouncing around.’
Madison ‘had his hands sort of inappropriately all over her chest,’ Brown told the federal court in Boston today.
The testimony is the latest to emerge in the first criminal trial of painkiller manufacturer executives as authorities try to find culprits of the opioid abuse epidemic that has killed so many it even lowered the US life expectancy.
Sunrise Lee, an ex-stripper turned sales executive for Insys, is accused of performing a lap dance for a doctor who was being persuaded to prescribe a fentanyl spray to people who did not have cancer. The spray, Subsys, was approved by the FDA to relieve pain for cancer
Madison, who received at least $ 70,800 in speaker fees from Insys, was convicted in November in another, unrelated case for taking money from insurers for chiropractic operations that he never performed.
But now, he is one of a handful of doctors at the center of the Insys case, which is just beginning to unravel.
According to prosecutors, the doctors were targeted with bribes to push Subsys on patients without a prescription.
They have all pleaded not guilty to racketeering and deny any wrongdoing.
Subsys is a highly-addictive under-the-tongue spray only approved by the FDA to treat cancer pain.
But prosecutors say doctors prescribed it to patients without cancer, allegedly after receiving payments from Insys.
Those alleged payments, dinners and other persuasive gifts, prosecutors say, came from Lee as well as Insys founder and ex-chairman John Kapoor, as well as Michael Gurry, Richard Simon and Joseph Rowan.
The executives’ lawyers insist everything described in this case was above board.
They say doctors are allowed to prescribe medications for off-label purposes.
And accepting speaker fees is not illegal. Pharmaceutical companies routinely contract experts to speak at events to share their knowledge and further drug development.
Today’s testimony, reported by Reuters, slightly skewered those claims.
Brown said the dinners were hardly professional affairs. They were held at a Chicago restaurant owned by Kapoor, and they were not attended by clinicians, but by friends.
‘The idea was these weren’t really meant to be educational programs but were meant to be rewards to physicians,’ Brown said.
Jurors were shown an email Brown sent in 2012, describing Madison’s medical practice as a ‘shady pill mill.’
Brown stuck by her assessment, saying the center was ‘notorious.’
Lee’s attorney, Peter Horstmann, asked Brown if Madison ‘appeared to be taking advantage of Ms Lee.’
Brown said yes.