Pharma boss attributes FBI arrest to hiked AIDS drug price
The former hedge fund manager who raised the price of an AIDS drug by 5500% has said the price hike is the reason the FBI looked to arrest him.
Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old founder and former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under fire after buying the rights to 62-year-old drug Daraprim.
The drug costs less than $1 per tablet to make, and is used to treat conditions including AIDS-related toxoplasmosis – but Shkreli raised the price by 5500%, charging $750 per pill.
Shkreli was arrested on Thursday morning by federal agents at his Manhattan home.
He has since been bailed after posting $5 million, and has entered a not guilty plea for the charges.
Despite operations at Turing having no bearing on the arrest, Shkreli suggested there was a link.
“‘Trying to find anything we could to stop him’ was the attitude of the government,” Shkreli told the Wall Street Journal.
He on Sunday lost control of his Twitter account to hackers after resigning as CEO of Turing on Friday.
Shkreli is accused by federal prosecutors of using shell companies after his now defunct hedge fund MSMB Capital Management lost millions of dollars.
The accusations include using the complex shell game to make secret payoffs and to set up fake consultancy arrangements.
Biotech firm Retrophin has sued Shkreli in federal court, making the allegations about transactions between the company and MSMB, while Shkreli was still at the firm.
It alleges that Shkreli used fake consultancy arrangements to pay off investors in MSMB, who lost money after a bad trade with Merril Lynch in 2011 which lost the company $7 million.
After initially saying he would reduce the Daraprim pricing, he later changed his mind. He responded to a tweet from Hillary Clinton criticising him for the price hike simply saying: “Lol”.
He later found a new group of people to troll: fans of hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan.
Since, Shkreli announced plans to increase a drug used in the treatment of the Chagas disease.
Benznidazole is used in the treatment of Chagas disease, which can prove fatal.
Despite costing just $50-100 for a two month course of treatment in Latin America, Shkreli is seeking FDA approval to sell the drug in the US, and plans to charge $80,000.
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