FRONTLINE and the Financial Times Announce First Reporting Partnership to Investigate Insys Therapeutics


In partnership with:
January 23, 2020
Anne Husted Manager, Public Relations & Communications, FRONTLINE

BOSTON — January 23, 2020 — FRONTLINE, PBS’s flagship investigative documentary series, and the Financial Times are launching a joint investigation into Insys Therapeutics — a pharmaceutical company that bribed doctors to prescribe a highly addictive opioid painkiller that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.

The collaborative, multiplatform reporting begins on January 23, in connection with the sentencing of John Kapoor, the founder and CEO of Insys Therapeutics, and Alec Burlakoff, the senior vice president of sales. The first installment includes a long-form text story in the FT, co-published on FRONTLINE’s website, as well as a short digital video that includes Burlakoff’s first interview, done with FRONTLINE and the FT under the supervision of federal prosecutors in Boston.

Their sentencings follow a 2016 indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts that alleged that six former employees conspired to bribe practitioners to prescribe the fentanyl-based pain medication, Subsys. Subsys was approved for cancer pain but was prescribed much more widely — and sales reached more than $300 million at its peak.

The collaboration is scheduled to continue in the coming days with a special report on PBS NewsHour.

This spring, FRONTLINE in association with the FT plan to air a one-hour documentary from filmmaker Tom Jennings (Being Mortal, Right to Fail). FRONTLINE’s original podcast The FRONTLINE Dispatch will also debut a short audio series drawing on the joint reporting, which will tell the inside story of the corruption behind Insys Therapeutics’ rise and the federal prosecution that brought it down.

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 91 Emmy Awards and 22 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTubeTumblr and Google+ to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.

For more information, please contact:

FRONTLINE (PBS): Anne Husted /
Financial Times: Katrina Fedczuk /

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