By Claire Gordon • 15 January 2022 • 11:13
Martin Shkreli, the former drug firm executive who hiked the price of a life-saving medicine up by 4000% overnight, has been barred from the pharmaceuticals industry for life. In a decision on Friday 14 January, Judge Denise Cote also ordered him to repay $64.6m in profits he made from the immoral scheme.
The actions taken by Shkreli were deemed to have broken the laws against monopolies, particularly in medical settings. The former executive is currently behind bars after being found guilty of defrauding investors in his company, but this new decision is about an action he took in 2015 to raise the price of Daraprim, a long-established medicine used to treat toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 to $750 – around 4,000% – overnight.
He also worked on and published supply agreements that blocked competitors from selling an unpatented, generic version of the same medicine, effectively removing the substance from sale unless it was bought through his company interests. The medicine is used to treat the parasitic disease in pregnant women and patients with AIDs reports the BBC.
Seven states and the Federal Trade Commission brought a lawsuit over the conduct in 2020, saying he had violated state and federal laws that ban anti-competitive conduct.
In her opinion, US District Judge Cote called Martin Shkreli the “prime mover” in the scheme. “It was his brainchild and he drove it each step of the way,” she wrote. Vyera Pharmaceuticals, which Mr Shkreli founded and was previously known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, earlier agreed to pay $40m.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, one of the officials who brought the suit, celebrated the decision. She said Mr Shkreli and his partner had illegally raised the “price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives hung in the balance”.
“But Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a Pharma Bro no more.”
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