A US judge on Friday banned Martin Shkreli for life from the pharmaceutical industry citing that the former drug firm executive could again monopolize life-saving drugs.
Federal judge Denis Cote asked Shkreli, also known as ‘Pharma Bro’ to pay $64.6 million in damages to victims. The lawsuit against Shkreli was brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and six states. Shkreli will continue to remain in prison for his role in defrauding investors in a separate case.
“The risk of recurrency here is real. Shkreli’s egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running and ultimately dangerous illegal conduct warrants imposition of an injunction of this scope,” Cote said in her verdict, according to a report by news agency AFP. She said that Shkreli did not express remorse and did not show any awareness that his actions violated the law.
“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 further wrote.
‘Most Hated Man In America’
Shkreli earned the moniker of being the ‘most hated man in America’ after he raised the price of the HIV drug Daraprim in 2015 by 5,000%. After the price rise, Daraprim cost $750 compared to $13.50. The medicine is also used to treat toxoplasmosis in pregnant women.
Other than increasing the price of Daraprim, he also reached exclusive supply agreements for a key ingredient for the medicine which led to a delay in generic competition for at least 18 months.
But it was the decision to increase the price of Daraprim that led him to earth both nicknames.
Shkreli founded Turing Pharmaceuticals which was later renamed Vyera Pharmaceuticals, which earlier agreed to pay $40m to the FTC. Cote in her ruling however highlighted that Shkreli, who is the largest shareholder in Vyera Pharmaceuticals, still continues to influence policies and choose executives even while being locked up in a prison.
“Whether he used a smuggled phone or the prison’s authorized phones, he stayed in touch with Vyera’s management and exercised his power over Vyera as its largest shareholder,” Cote was quoted as saying by the AFP. Vyera is due to be released in 2023 and could be released earlier due to pending successful completion of an early release program.