The greasy “pharma bro” just got slapped with a massive fine and — thank god — was barred from the pharmaceutical industry for life.
Here’s a riddle for you: How do you turn an infamous pharma-bro into a plain ol’ bro?
If you’re Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager-turned-drug company CEO-turned-convicted felon, the answer is: You get a federal judge to bar you from participating in the pharmaceutical industry “in any capacity” for the rest of your life.
Shkreli, who gained widespread notoriety in 2015 for hiking the price of AIDS-medication Daraprim by 5,000 percent, was sentenced Friday to pay a massive $64.6 million dollar fine and ordered to stay away from the industry that made him a household name for the remainder of his time on Earth.
In a novella-length ruling, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York justified Shkreli’s punishment, writing that his “egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running, and ultimately dangerous illegal conduct warrants imposition of an injunction of this scope.”
After dramatically gouging the price of life-saving medication, Shkreli seemed to revel in his newfound position as the poster boy for unchecked corporate greed and shamelessness, harassing journalists, throwing his support to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election (Trump later called him a “spoiled brat”), and buying a one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan album only to start a feud with one of the group’s founding members. He was indicted on securities fraud by the Federal Trade Commission and a number of states, and he is currently still in prison serving a seven-year sentence on those counts. Despite his incarceration, New York State Attorney General Letitia James accused Shkreli of continuing to profit off his criminal corporate maneuvering, serving him with a lawsuit in early 2020 that claimed his sizable fortune was the result of having established an illegal monopoly for Daraprim that ensured he could hike the price unreasonably high without competition.
“We filed this lawsuit to stop [Shkreli’s company] Vyera’s egregious conduct, make the company pay for its illegal scheming, and block Martin Shkreli from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again,” James said in a statement when the suit was first introduced. “We won’t allow ‘Pharma Bros’ to manipulate the market and line their pockets at the expense of vulnerable patients and the health care system.”
Now, nearly two years later, it appears James has gotten her wish. In her ruling, Cote agreed with James’s characterization of Shkreli’s continued criminality from behind bars, writing, “He maintained ‘shadow control’ of the company, staying in close contact with Vyera’s directors and officers, providing guidance on how to maintain control of the market, and threatening to use his authority as the largest shareholder to call an extraordinary general meeting (‘EGM’) that would install more pliant officers and directors.”
James celebrated Friday’s ruling on Twitter with a Wu Tang lyric pointedly designed to troll the now-38-year-old felon.
That’s tough stuff, bro.