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Chandler drug company founder pleads not guilty to opioid conspiracy

Billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics John Kapoor leaves U.S. District Court after being arrested earlier Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Phoenix. Kapoor and other defendants in the fraud and racketeering case are accused of offering bribes to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for a fentanyl-based pain medication meant only for cancer patients with severe pain. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

BOSTON — The founder of an Arizona drug company accused in a conspiracy to bribe doctors to unnecessarily prescribe opioid pain medication pleaded not guilty.

Attorney Brian Kelly told reporters after John Kapoor’s arraignment in a Boston federal courthouse on Thursday that the Chandler-based Insys Therapeutics Inc. founder was going to fight the case.

Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, and other Insys executives have been accused of offering kickbacks to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for a fentanyl-based pain medication that’s meant for cancer patients.

Kapoor was arrested in Arizona last month and posted a $1 million bail.

Kelly urged the judge to get rid of the requirement that Kapoor wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. Prosecutors said he was a flight risk.

The judge didn’t immediately rule on the matter Thursday.

Federal prosecutors in Boston brought the case as part of “ongoing efforts to attack the opioid crisis from all angles,” said Boston-based Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb.

Several former Insys employees and health care providers have pleaded guilty to felony charges around the country, including in Alabama and Connecticut. A Rhode Island doctor pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting kickbacks in return for prescribing the highly addictive fentanyl spray.

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