Pharma brother Martin Shkreli must pay $65 million to seven states

‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli has been ordered to pay nearly $65 million to seven states that have sued him for antitrust violations, in a decision that also banned him from working in a pharmaceutical industry.

US District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan ruled after a trial in which the US Federal Trade Commission and seven states charged Shkreli, the founder of Vyera Pharmaceuticals, of using illegal tactics to keep Daraprim rivals out of the market.

Now the seven plaintiffs — New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia — are entitled to a payout, but it’s unclear where the money will come from and what the states will do with it if Shkreli ever pays up.

The states alleged in their case that Vyera had increased the price of Daraprim and illegally created “a web of anticompetitive restrictions” to prevent other companies from making cheaper generic versions. They claimed, among other things, that Vyera blocked access to a key ingredient for the drug and to data the companies would like to evaluate the drug’s market potential.

‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli pictured in 2017. He is still serving a seven-year prison sentence

“Envy, greed, lust and hatred” are not only “breaking up,” but they clearly motivated Shkreli and his partner to illegally drive up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives were at stake,” he said. . Attorney General James ‘But Americans can rest easy, because Martin Shkreli is no longer a pharmaceutical brother.

Shkreli rose to prominence in 2015 after raising the price of Daraprim overnight to $750 per tablet from $17.50. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems.

In a 130-page decision, Cote accused Shkreli of founding two companies, Vyera and Retrophin Inc, that were intended to monopolize drugs so that he could benefit “on the backs” of patients, doctors and distributors.

In a 130-page decision, Cote accused Shkreli of setting up two companies, Vyera and Retrophin Inc, designed to monopolize drugs so that he could benefit

In a 130-page decision, Cote accused Shkreli of setting up two companies, Vyera and Retrophin Inc, designed to monopolize drugs so that he could benefit “on the back” of patients, doctors and distributors.

“Shkreli was not a sidekick in, or an ‘outside, unrelated’ beneficiary of Vyera’s scheme,” Cote wrote in a 135-page op-ed.

“He was the mastermind behind the illegal behavior and the main person responsible over the years.”

She said the Daraprim plan was “particularly heartless and coercive” and that a lifetime ban on the industry was needed because of the “real danger” that Shkreli could become a repeat offender.

“Shkreli’s anti-competitive behavior at the expense of public health was blatant and reckless,” the judge wrote. He has no remorse. Denying him the opportunity to repeat that behavior is nothing but for the sake of justice.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who was one of the states to sue Skreli, praised the ruling.

“Envy, greed, lust and hatred” are not only “breaking up,” but they clearly motivated Shkreli and his partner to illegally drive up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives were at stake,” he said. . James

‘But Americans can rest assured, because Martin Shkreli is no longer a pharmaceutical brother.

Vyera raised the price of the decades-old drug from $17.50 to $750 per pill after acquiring exclusive rights to it in 2015

Vyera raised the price of the decades-old drug from $17.50 to $750 per pill after acquiring exclusive rights to it in 2015

“A federal court not only found his conduct to be illegal, but also banned this convicted criminal from the pharmaceutical industry for life and fined him nearly $65 million.

“This is in addition to the $40 million we have already received from Vyera.

“The rich and powerful don’t play by their own rules, so I guess cash doesn’t rule everything around Mr. Shkreli.

“New Yorkers can rest assured that my office will do everything it can to hold the powerful accountable, in addition to fighting to protect their health and their wallets.”

How ex-hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli fell out of favor?

Martin Shkreli became known as the “most hated man in America” ​​after he bought the rights to the life-saving AIDS drug Daraprim in 2014 and increased the price from $13.50 per pill to a whopping $750 per pill.

In 2018, he was sentenced to seven years in prison in an unrelated case for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled to, and investing in a pharmaceutical company. company had been scammed. Retrophin, by hiding his ownership of some of his stock.

Shkreli was ordered to forfeit $7.3 million as part of his unrelated jail time and is expected to be released from prison in September 2023.

At the time of his arrest in 2015 for lying to investors, Shkreli was already infamous for increasing the price of Daraprim by 4,000 percent.

Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can kill people with the AIDS virus or other immune system disorders, including malaria and cancer.

He was also known for attacking social media critics under the guise of “Pharma Bro” and for placing a $5,000 bounty on a lock of Hillary Clinton’s hair.

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