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Vox Sentences: Repercussions for the opioid epidemic hit the bosses

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The founder of a major drug company is convicted; British anger with Brexit is displayed in election results.

Drug company executives found guilty of racketeering

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • Five top executives of the drug company Insys Therapeutics were found guilty of dishonest business practices, pointing to the government’s efforts to hold Big Pharma accountable for the opioid crisis. [NYT / Gabrielle Emanuel and Katie Thomas]
  • The company, which sells fentanyl-based painkillers, bribed doctors to prescribe their drugs and lied to insurance companies to receive payments for the medication, according to prosecutors. A sales rep, a former exotic dancer, even gave a doctor a lap dance to encourage him to prescribe more of the pills. [AP / Alanna Durkin Richer]
  • The executives, including company founder John Kapoor, could face up to 20 years in prison. Kapoor is the highest-ranking pharmaceutical executive to have been prosecuted in a string of legal cases against drug companies so far. [NPR / Gabrielle Emanuel]
  • Almost 48,000 deaths in 2017 were opioid-related, and the justice system seems increasingly willing to hold drug companies and executives responsible. [BBC]
  • Federal prosecutors criminally charged Rochester Drug Cooperative last month, and McKesson Corporation reached a $37 million settlement with the state of West Virginia this week. [Washington Post / Lenny Bernstein]
  • This, however, is just the first step in addressing the opioid crisis. Experts say there are still no legislative efforts to restrict drug companies, and funding for combating the epidemic is still lacking. [Vox / German Lopez]

Voters express anger with Brexit in polls

  • British voters are angry with the handling of Brexit, and the country’s two main political parties felt the effects during local elections. [WSJ / Jason Douglas]
  • This is the largest set of local elections in England, and more than 8,000 seats were up for grabs. Although voters usually focus on issues related to their community in such elections, Brexit became a governing issue in the polls. [NYT / Stephen Castle]
  • Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party, which backed Brexit, lost more than 1,300 seats — a shocking number considering that they held more than 60 percent of seats going into the election. [Washington Post / Karla Adam]
  • The opposition Labour Party also lost more than 100 seats, which came as a surprise to many who thought the party would benefit from the Conservatives’ losses. Experts think it’s because voters are holding the two most prominent parties accountable for the chaos of Brexit. [Bloomberg / Thomas Penny, Tim Ross, and Alex Morales]
  • The Liberal Democrats and the Greens, the two parties that opposed Brexit, emerged from the elections as winners, gaining more than 690 and 190 seats, respectively. [BBC]
  • The results send a clear message to Parliament, which has twice failed to pass a Brexit referendum: Voters are mad, and they want change. The two main parties will have to brace themselves for even more brutal losses in the European parliamentary elections on May 23. [AP / Jill Lawless]


  • In response to the Parkland school shooting and increasing incidents of mass gun violence, Florida lawmakers passed a new bill that would allow teachers to arm themselves. [Reuters / Daniel Trotta]
  • A fictional Instagram account is being launched to tell the story of a young woman’s experiences during the Holocaust. While the creator hopes it will help educate younger generations, the project hasn’t been free of criticism. [NYT / Isabel Kershner]
  • Some adults who were vaccinated for measles decades ago might need an additional booster to keep them immune during the current outbreak. [CBS News]
  • Wildlife authorities discovered a carpet python with three eyes in northern Australia. They nicknamed it Monty Python. [BBC]
  • People apparently can’t get enough Adidas: The German sportswear company’s wares are so sought after that the brand says it can’t keep up with demand. [CNN / Ivana Kottasová]


“Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical executives responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way.” [US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling on the conviction of Insys Therapeutics executives]

Watch this: How London is fighting its nightmare traffic

Congestion pricing works — just look at London. [YouTube / Kimberly Mas and Diana Budds]

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