The former head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli, currently serving a seven-year sentence for defrauding investors, has been sued by U.S. officials for raising the price of a drug by 4,000 percent in 2015.
The reputation and credibility of the pharma industry sank to a new low in 2015 with news that the price of Daraprim (Pyrimethamine), an anti-parasitic drug that is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, had been raised from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. Marketed since the 1950s, the drug was acquired by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company run by Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager. Astonishingly, with even the global mass media seemingly aghast at his greed, Shkreli shamelessly attempted to portray the price rise as “altruistic”.
In a separate case in 2017, Shkreli was subsequently convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy for defrauding investors out of more than $10 million. The following year he was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Shkreli’s story reminds us that, for the robber barons behind the pharmaceutical ‘business with disease’, it is profits, not the interests of patients, that are the highest priority.