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U.S. judge bars Martin Shkreli from drug industry, orders $64.6 million payment

EconomyJan 14, 2022 05:25PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former drug company executive Martin Shkreli exits U.S. District Court after being convicted of securities fraud, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Diane Bartz and Jonathan Stempel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Friday barred Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered him to pay $64.6 million after he famously raised the price of the drug Daraprim and fought to block generic competitors.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan ruled after a trial where the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and seven states had accused Shkreli, the founder of Vyera Pharmaceuticals, of using illegal tactics to keep Daraprim rivals out of the market.

Shkreli drew notoriety in 2015 after hiking Daraprim's price overnight to $750 per tablet from $17.50. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems.

In a 130-page decision, Cote faulted Shkreli for creating two companies, Vyera and Retrophin (NASDAQ:TVTX) Inc, designed to monopolize drugs so he could profit "on the backs" of patients, doctors and distributors.

She said the Daraprim scheme was "particularly heartless and coercive," and a lifetime industry ban was needed because of the "real danger" that Shkreli could become a repeat offender.

"Shkreli's anticompetitive conduct at the expense of the public health was flagrant and reckless," the judge wrote. "He is unrepentant. Barring him from the opportunity to repeat that conduct is nothing if not in the interest of justice."

After the ruling, FTC Chair Lina Khan tweeted the decision, calling it a "just outcome."

Shkreli's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shkreli is serving a seven-year prison sentence for securities fraud. He did not attend the trial held last month.

Vyera was founded in 2014 as Turing Pharmaceuticals, and acquired Daraprim from Impax Laboratories Inc in 2015.

Regulators accused Vyera of protecting its dominance of Daraprim by ensuring that generic drugmakers could not obtain samples for cheaper versions, and keeping potential rivals from buying a key ingredient.

The seven states joining the FTC case included California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

U.S. judge bars Martin Shkreli from drug industry, orders $64.6 million payment
 

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Comments (4)
Warren Wesley
Warren Wesley Jan 16, 2022 10:07AM ET
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who can trust this business executive? as a conservative accountant I agree with the ruling to keep him away. he does not exhibit remorse nor any effort to change.
Krist Loci
Krist Loci Jan 15, 2022 11:17AM ET
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Martin did nothing wrong
Marcus Bennett
Marcus Bennett Jan 14, 2022 7:22PM ET
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we cant have people in charge of our drug/holistic care system that aren't taking in consideration of better health care providers.
Empire Destroyer
Empire Destroyer Jan 14, 2022 4:46PM ET
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Don't know about you but pharmaceutical CEOs are doing same thing as we speak... especially in countries where medical bills are on you... it's ok though it's all transparent and fair cos they lobbying politicians to not regulate them or punish such behaviours 🤣🤣
Marcus Bennett
Marcus Bennett Jan 14, 2022 4:46PM ET
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we can have people in charge of our drug/holistic care system that aren't taking in consideration of better health care providers.
Marcus Bennett
Marcus Bennett Jan 14, 2022 4:46PM ET
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correction we "cant" have people in charge of our drug/holistic care system that aren't taking in consideration of better health care providers.
 
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