Martin Shkreli, the convicted “Pharma Bro” who was brought down by a 2015 drug-pricing scandal, was ordered to pay $64 million in damages for monopolizing the market for a life-saving drug.
Shkreli, the former chief executive officer of Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC, was also banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry in the antitrust ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan.
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New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the suit with six other states and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, said in a statement that Shkreli was motivated by “envy” and “greed” when he decided to “illegally jack up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives hung in the balance.”
#BREAKING: Martin Shkreli is a 'Pharma Bro' no more. A court found that the former Vyera Pharma CEO illegally monopolized the market of the life-saving drug Daraprim.
The powerful don’t get to make their own rules, despite Shkreli thinking cash rules everything around him.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) January 14, 2022
Shkreli is already serving a seven-year sentence for securities fraud committed while running two hedge funds, though the same drug – Daraprim – is at the center of both cases.
Vyera, then known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, was launched by Shkreli in 2015. That’s when he acquired Daraprim, a once-affordable anti-infective used to treat a sometimes-deadly parasitic infection, from the only existing supplier. Shkreli then raised the price from $17.50 to $750 per tablet.
Cote found that Shkreli made illegal agreements with generic drug makers to delay introduction of cheaper versions of the drug after he jacked up the price.
“Shkreli does not dispute that it was his intention to impede generic pharmaceutical companies from launching competitive products that would threaten the price of Daraprim,” the judge wrote. “The plaintiffs have shown that the restraints Vyera implemented succeeded in doing just that.”
Last month, Vyera and another former chief executive officer, Kevin Mulleady, agreed to pay as much as $40 million to resolve their involvement in the federal antitrust lawsuit filed by New York and other states.
(Updates with detail from the litigation)