Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur vilified for astronomically hiking the price of a life-saving drug, has been barred for life from the pharmaceutical industry and fined $64.6m by a US court.
The Friday ruling came after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and seven states brought a case against Shkreli, nicknamed the “Pharma Bro” for his sometimes outrageous behavior.
Shkreli was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company that in 2015 hiked the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat Aids, malaria and cancer, by more than 5,000%.
The ensuing scandal managed to unite Donald Trump and his then presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, in condemnation. Trump called Shkreli a “spoiled brat” and Clinton slammed his price gouging.
“Banning an individual from an entire industry and limiting his future capacity to make a living in that field is a serious remedy and must be done with care and only if equity demands,” US district judge Denise Cote wrote in a 135-page ruling on Friday.
“Shkreli’s egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running, and ultimately dangerous illegal conduct warrants imposition of an injunction of this scope.
“From day one, Shkreli focused his new venture on acquiring sole-source drugs that were the gold standard treatment option for life-threatening diseases with a small patient population and inferior alternative treatments, with the intent to raise their prices, block generic competition, and reap extraordinary profits.”
During the trial, Shkreli lost bail after encouraging fans to obtain a hair off Clinton’s head: “$5,000 but the hair has to include a follicle. Do not assault anyone for any reason ever (LOLIBERALS),” he wrote in a now deleted Facebook post.
The New York state attorney general, Letitia James, brought the case against Shkreli in January 2020, accusing him of using monopoly control to keep the drug price high. She was joined by the FTC and other attorneys general.
“Martin Shkreli is a ‘Pharma Bro’ no more,” James wrote on Twitter on Friday.
“The powerful don’t get to make their own rules, despite Shkreli thinking cash rules everything around him.”