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‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli banned for life from drug industry, ordered to pay $64.6 million

A file photo of former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.
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A federal judge on Friday ordered notorious “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry and also ordered him to pay $64.6 million in profits he earned from hiking the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000% overnight.

The ruling in U.S. District Court in Manhattan came in response to a lawsuit alleging illegal and monopolistic behavior connected with Daraprim by the incarcerated securities fraudster Shkreli.

The plaintiffs in the case were the Federal Trade Commission, and seven states, including New York and California.

Those same plaintiffs last month obtained a $40 million settlement for the same claims from Vyera Pharmaceuticals, the company that Shkreli had founded.

“Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Shkreli is serving a seven-year federal prison term for financial crimes unrelated to his controversial price increase of Daraprim, a drug used to treat parasitic infections in pregnant women, babies, HIV patients, and others. Shkreli controversially raised the drug’s price from $13.50 per pill to a whopping $750 per pill in 2015.

In her 135-page ruling Friday, Judge Denise Cote found that Shkreli, while serving as Vyera’s CEO violated federal and state laws with anticompetitive conduct to protect profits from Daraprim, which until recently was the only drug federally approved to treat the parasitic condition toxoplasmosis.

Cote presided over a seven-day trial in the case last month without a jury.

Cote wrote that Shkreli in 2015 “initiated a scheme to block the entry of generic drug competition so that he could reap the profits from Daraprim sales for as long as possible” when he increased the price of the drug.

“Through his tight control of the distribution of Daraprim, Shkreli prevented generic drug companies from getting access to the quantity of Daraprim they needed to conduct testing demanded by the Food and Drug Administration,” the judge wrote. “Through exclusive supply agreements, Shkreli also blocked off access to the two most important manufacturers of the active pharmaceutical ingredient … for Daraprim.”

“Through these strategies, Shkreli delayed the entry of generic competition for at least eighteen months. Shkreli and his companies profited over $64 million from this scheme.”

Vyera had been known as Turing Pharmaceuticals when Shkreli ordered the stunning price hike for the drug, earning him widespread condemnation at the time from a wide range of people, including former President Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

The outrage led to Shkreli becoming internationally infamous under the sobriquet “Pharma Bro.”

A year later, federal prosecutors charged him with defrauding investors in two hedge funds he ran years before founding Turing, and with using their funds to found another drug company, Retrophin.

Shkreli was convicted in mid-2017 in Brooklyn federal court of several charges in the case.

Within weeks, he had his $5 million release bond revoked by a judge despite a pending appeal of his conviction after offering his followers on social media a bounty for each strand of hair they could pull off Clinton’s head during her book tour that year.

Under last month’s settlement with Vyera, Shkreli’s former business partner Kevin Mulleady agreed to be banned from the pharmaceuticals industry for seven years.

The other state plaintiffs in the case were Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina and Virginia.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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