US judge bars Martin Shkreli from drug industry, orders $64.6 million payment

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

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

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

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

Shkreli gained notoriety in 2015 after raising the price of Daraprim 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 criticized Shkreli for creating two companies, Vyera and Retrophin, designed to monopolize drugs so he could profit “at the expense of” patients, doctors and distributors.

She said Daraprim’s scheme was “particularly ruthless and coercive”, and that a lifetime ban from the industry was needed because of the “real danger” that Shkreli could become a repeat offender.

“Shkreli’s anti-competitive conduct at the expense of public health was flagrant and reckless,” the judge wrote. “He has no regrets. Denying him the opportunity to repeat such conduct is nothing if it is not in the interest of justice.”

After the ruling, FTC Chair Lina Khan tweeted the decision, calling it a “fair result.”

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 in 2015.

Regulators accused Vyera of protecting its dominance of Daraprim by ensuring generic drugmakers couldn’t get samples for cheaper versions and preventing potential rivals from buying a key ingredient.

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

Photos

related stories

More stories that may interest you

.

Leave a Comment