Judge orders Martin Shkreli to pay $65M for hiking drug price

Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli must pay $65 million for hiking the cost of Daraprim by 4,000%. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Jan. 14 (UPI) — A federal judge on Friday ordered former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli to pay $64.6 million for illegally ballooning the price of a drug to treat parasitic diseases.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York also barred Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life.

“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,” she wrote in her ruling.

“Shkreli’s egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running and ultimately dangerous illegal conduct warrants imposition of an injunction of this scope.”

Shkreli is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in an unrelated fraud cause. A jury convicted him in August 2017 on charges he ran a Ponzi scheme from 2009 to 2014 and bilked investors out of $11 million.

Shkreli came to notoriety in 2015 after his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, hiked the price of anti-parasite medication Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. The drug is often used to treat HIV patients and others with compromised immune systems.

Friday’s ruling was in response to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New York, accusing Shkreli and his company — which is now known as Yvera Pharmaceuticals — of concocting an elaborate competition-fixing scheme to maintain his monopoly over Daraprim.

After purchasing the drug in 2015, the complaint said Shkreli prevented other companies from developing a generic equivalent of the drug through drawing up restrictive distribution agreements that barred them from buying samples of the medication while also limiting their access to a necessary ingredient used in its manufacturing.

The $65 million Shkreli was ordered to pay Friday is on top of the $40 million Vyera agreed in December to pay to settle separate charges with the FTC.

New York Attorney General Letitia James welcomed the court’s ruling, saying Shkreli was motivated by “envy, greed, lust and hate.”

“Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more,” she said, referencing Shkreli’s infamous nickname. “The rich and powerful don’t get to play by their own set of rules, so I it seems that cash doesn’t rule everything around Mr. Shkreli.”


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