‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli ordered to pay nearly $65 million, banned for life from pharmaceutical industry
Martin Shkreli, the “Pharma Bro” who significantly raised the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim, was told by a judge on Friday that he could no longer work within the pharmaceutical industry and was ordered to pay close to $65 million “in net profits from his wrongdoing.”
In defense of raising the price of Daraprim, an anti-parasite drug used for patients with AIDS, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals claimed that patients who needed the drug would be able to get it through insurance companies and argued that capitalism allowed him to raise the drug’s price, The Associated Press reported.
However, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote was not convinced, calling his scheme to raise the price of Daraprim “particularly heartless and coercive” in her decision on Friday.
“He cynically took advantage of the requirements of a federal regulatory scheme designed to protect the health of a nation by ensuring that its population has access to drugs that are not only effective but also safe,” Cole said in her decision.
“He recklessly disregarded the health of a particularly vulnerable population, those with compromised immune systems. His scheme burdened those patients, their loved ones, and their health care providers,” she continued.
In her strong rebuke, Cole also said that Shkreli had not expressed any remorse for his actions. She noted that “the risk of recurrence here is real.”
“Shkreli’s anticompetitive conduct at the expense of the public health was flagrant and reckless. He is unrepentant. Barring him from the opportunity to repeat that conduct is nothing if not in the interest of justice,” Cole said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who serves in one of the states that is a plaintiff in the case, applauded Cole’s decision.
“‘Envy, greed, lust, and hate,’ don’t just ‘separate,’ but they obviously motivated Mr. Shkreli and his partner to illegally jack up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives hung in the balance,” James said in a statement. “But Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more.”
Shkreli was previously sentenced in 2018 to seven years in prison for securities fraud in a separate case. He was found guilty of lying about two hedge funds he was managing when speaking to investors.