Opioid manufacturer, Insys Therapeutics, agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal criminal and civil charges of bribing doctors to prescribe its addictive, fentanyl-based painkiller to patients who didn’t need it. Five days after making that deal, the company filed for Chapter 11. The government won’t be seeing any of that settlement money for a long time. Instead, Insys asked the court to sell its assets to pay off more than $250 million in debts. This is the first time a drug maker has filed for bankruptcy protection regarding the opioid crisis. The company will keep operating but will have to come up with a plan to pay not only the settlement, but millions in legal fees. Insys founder, John Kapoor, and four former executives are still facing lengthy prison sentences after being found guilty of racketeering.
A few months ago, we told you the Trump administration was proposing more stringent background checks for all federal job applicants. These expanded checks were supposed to include not just criminal conviction information, but details on any plea deal or pretrial diversion. Now, according to The Hill and the Washington Post, the proposal has been withdrawn because of bipartisan pushback from lawmakers. The concern was that including information on deals or treatment plans would punish people who were never actually convicted of anything, and that would be contradictory to the First Step Act — criminal justice reform that the president signed into law late last year.
A new report says the Ban the Box law in our nation’s capital has cost employers nearly $500,000 in fines since it was enacted in December of 2014. In that time, the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) has received nearly 2,000 complaints, investigated more than 1,100 charges of discrimination, and settled 55% through mediation. The OHR also conducted training sessions to help employers understand their roles and responsibilities regarding the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act (FCRSA). DC is one of the first jurisdictions in the country to attach fines to Ban the Box violations, which give this law some teeth.
Meanwhile, several other jurisdictions are adding ban the box laws. The governors of New Mexico and Colorado recently signed bills into law. New Hampshire is also working on a bill. So far it has passed the Senate; no word when it will be voted on in the House.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has signed the CARE Act into law. The new law only establishes a commission to study the question of medical marijuana. The bill originally legalized medical usage of the drug, but that language was removed after it was opposed by lawmakers. The CARE Act went into effect immediately after the governor signed it. The 15-member cannabis study commission will draft a new bill for the next legislative session. The CARE Act also extends Carly’s Law, which allows the University of Alabama Birmingham to continue research into the medicinal use of CBD oil.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.