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'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Banned From Industry, Must Pay $64 Million

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jan 14, 2022

Martin Shkreli, widely known as the "pharma bro," has been banned from the pharmaceutical  industry entirely and must pay $64 million as the result of a 2020 lawsuit,  the Associated Press reported. The former drug company CEO earned the title "most hated man in America" from numerous sources over multiple years for raising the price of the drug Daraprim, usefd to treat potentially deadly parasitic infections, from $13.50 a pill to $750, a more than 5000 percent increase. People generally regarded this as a move consistent with the behavior of a huge jerk. Even in such divisive times, the Associated Press noted that both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, who rarely agree on anything, expressed extremely poor views of the man's character. 

While some might shrink from such public shaming, Shkreli at time seemed to revel in it, maintaining a public persona that he likely believed was entertaining. His infamy only grew when he bought the only copy of the Wu Tan Clan's album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and refused to release it to the wider public, an action that some might describe as simultaneously petty and gaudy. 

It was perhaps due to this behavior that few besides his lawyer came to his defense when he was charged with securities fraud relating not to any of his more well-known activities but, rather, for lying to investors in two failed hedge funds and cheating them out of millions. He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison in 2018

Though Shkreli is now incarcerated as a result of that securities fraud, authorities did not forget his decision to dramatically raise the price of Daraprim and so, in 2020, the Federal Trade Commission, plus seven state governments, filed suit against him over the affair. While he defended his actions as merely capitalism in action, this was not enough to convince U.S. District Judge Denise Cote. A seven-day bench trial in December featured recordings of Shkreli's conversations indicating that he continued to exert control over Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC, from behind bars and that he discussed ways to  impede generic versions of Daraprim,  As a result, Judge Cote not only banned him from working in the pharmaceutical industry ever again, but she also ordered him to return $64 million that he made when he increased the drug's price. 

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