March 23, 2023

OH, NO, PHARMA BRO!: Why prosecutors want to send notorious price gouger Martin Shkreli back to prison

OH, NO, PHARMA BRO!: Why prosecutors want to send notorious price gouger Martin Shkreli back to prison

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Martin Shkreli, the infamous internet troll and symbol of corporate greed who once raised the price of Daraprim — a life-saving drug used by HIV patients, by pregnant women, and babies — some 5000%, may be headed back to prison.

Shkreli built a reputation for himself as a smirky, smarmy internet troll and media villain, harassing people online while looking to gouge the most vulnerable in order to fill whatever enormous hole he has deep inside him.

He once offered $5,000 for pieces of Hillary Clinton’s hair, triggering a Secret Service alert.

And he was known to harass journalists and boast about his wealth and popularity with women on Twitter.

He also had this noteworthy interaction with Trey Gowdy and John Lewis when testifying on Capitol Hill in 2016.

Good thing for him Lewis believed in nonviolence, because about half the country wanted to slap the corporate shit out of Shkreli after this.

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At his trial for duping investors in 2018, Shkreli supplicated himself before the judge, crying and apologizing for his sins in an Oscar-worthy performance.

Nonetheless, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

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The federal prison system has no parole and normally only gives a little bit of time off a sentence for good behavior.

Somehow, though, despite the fact that he illicitly used a cell phone in prison to fire the CEO who’d taken over his company, Shkreli managed to get released to a halfway house in 2022.

If he’d been poor and black and stolen a can of soda, he might have invited harsher treatment. But that’s the American justice system for ya.

But Shkreli’s troubles were not over.

An FTC antitrust suit from last year resulted in him being banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry and ordered to pay $25 million out of the total of $64.6 million awarded.

According to prosecutors, he has not made any payments, has purposely delayed the process in every way possible, and has not answered their inquiries.

Plus, he’s started a new drug company, they say.

For this, they want Shkreli charged with contempt and sent back to prison.

Through his attorney, Brianne Murphy, Shkreli insists it’s all a big misunderstanding.

He hasn’t started a new company in the pharmaceutical industry, she says, but a web service.

Well, you be the judge: Shkreli’s new company is called Druglike, Inc.

Maybe Shkreli’s just really bad at picking names. Maybe Druglike Inc. is a pet store or a haberdashery business, right?

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Oddly enough, Shkreli was recently asked what Sam Bankman-Fried might do to prepare for prison. Here’s what he had to say:

Martin, you perhaps you should start listening to your own advice right about now.

Although, I think you may be confusing rap music with rap sheet.

To join Ross in “going after the bastards,” click on @RossRosenfeld to follow him on Twitter.

Ross Rosenfeld

is a news analysis and opinion writer whose work has also appeared in the New York Daily News and Newsweek. He lives in New York.

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