Martin Shkreli, who earned the nickname “Pharma Bro” after raising the price of a life-saving drug from $3.50 to $775 overnight, has been barred from the drug industry for life by a federal judge.an
Along with the ban, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ordered Shkreli to pay $64.6 million of the profits that his former company Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC gained after raising the prices.
The bench trial, which was brought forward against Shkreli in 2020 by the Federal Trade Commission and seven separate states including California and Illinois, took place over the course of seven days in December.
A one-time hedge fund manager, Shkreli was propelled into international media attention in 2015 when Turing acquired the rights to Daraprim and raised prices from $13.50 to $750 a pill. The drug was developed decades ago and is used as a treatment for certain life-threatening parasitic infections.
Shkreli defended his actions as part of a free market. “There’s no doubt, I’m a capitalist,” Shkreli said in an interview with CBS News at the time. “I’m trying to create a big drug company, a successful drug company, a profitable drug company.”
Shkreli resigned from Turing — now known as Vyera — in December of 2015 after he was charged with securities fraud in connection with his previous hedge fund. He was eventually convicted on two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy in 2018 and is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence.
For the latest trial, Shkreli did not attend the hearing or offer justifications. In her ruling, Cote wrote that a lifetime ban from the industry was necessary in order to definitively prevent Shkreli from attempting something similar again.
“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,” Cote wrote in a 135-page ruling. “Shkreli’s egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running, and ultimately dangerous illegal conduct warrants imposition of an injunction of this scope.”
“Shkreli was no side player in, or a ‘remote, unrelated’ beneficiary of Vyera’s scheme,” Cote wrote further. “He was the mastermind of its illegal conduct and the person principally responsible for it throughout the years.”