A file photo of former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.
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.
The 135-page ruling in U.S. District Court in Manhattan came in response to a lawsuit alleging illegal and monopolistic behavior by the incarcerated fraudster Shkreli, which was filed by the Federal Trade Commission, and seven states, including New York and California.
The monetary penalty from Shkreli comes on top of the $40 million the plaintiffs obtained under a settlement last month with Vyera Pharmaceuticals, the company that he founded.
“Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement on the decision, which comes nearly two years after she and the other plaintiff filed suit.
Shkreli is serving a seven-year federal prison term for financial crimes unrelated to his controversial price increase of more than 5,000% for Daraprim, a drug used to treat parasitic infections in pregnant women, babies, HIV patients, and others.
The ruling by Judge Denise Cote found that Shkreli, while serving as CEO of Vyera Pharmaceuticals, had 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 massive price hike for the drug in 2015, 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 of several charges in the case, and within weeks had his release bond revoked despite a pending appeal 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.
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