Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli — the renowned price-gouger who infamously raised the price of an infection-fighting medication from $13 to $750 per pill — has resigned from his own company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, after an F.B.I. arrested him for securities fraud earlier this week.
Sure, Shkreli’s company isn’t the only one drastically inflating the prices of pharmaceuticals, but the floppy-haired man-child is super easy to despise, what with his bratty social media presence, evil smirk and tendency to say really dumb things — Shkreli’s probably the only CEO to ever ask Taylor Swift for a blowjob in a recorded interview. And then there’s that whole paying $2 million to own the sole copy of the Wu Tang Clan’s latest album — so mega-douchey.
There’s an in-depth, now slightly outdated profile of Shkreli in next month’s Vanity Fair, but here’s a quick refresher on this ghoul’s story which provides insight into his arrest:
A few years ago, the Brooklyn-native founded a biotech company called Retrophin, which bought the rights to a drug called Thiola. Thiola treats a painful kidney disorder and cost about $1.50 per pill. Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, raised the price to about $30 per pill. He did the same thing with a cholesterol drug called Chenodal, raising the already expensive $10 a pill drug to a whopping $47 per dose.
Unfortunately, Shkreli was allegedly using Retrophin profits to pay off investors from two failed hedge funds that he previously managed, and that’s when trouble started. Shkreli was accused of stalking an employee’s family as well as using the web to spread shit-talk about his business rivals, thus driving down their market value. Retrophin kicked him out and now they’re suing him, and the feds started building a fraud case against him.
Undaunted, Shkreli started a new company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, named after persecuted gay mathematician Alan Turing. The goal: to do the same thing all over again! Turing owns the rights to two currently manufactured drugs, Vecamyl and Daraprim, and the company’s stated goal is to make money by buying up patents to underused drugs and then exponentially raising the prices.
Daraprim went from $13.50 per pull to $750 per pill overnight. The drug was a sixty-year old anti-parasitic used to treat toxoplasmosis, a common parasite that can have serious consequences for HIV-positive individuals and pregnant women.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 15, 2015
Since then, Shkreli and Turing have flip-flopped, announcing after a great public outcry that they would reduce the $750 list price but changing their minds a few days later, saying they would only offer a discount to hospitals. While Shkreli has a few defenders, other pharmaceuticals execs have distanced themselves from him.
In August, he invoked Wu Tang lyrics to taunt his former company.
i am not the one to fuck with #wutang
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) August 17, 2015
Little did anyone know at the time that Shkreli was the secret $2 million buyer of Wu Tang Clan’s album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. “It’s the latest news grab for a young businessperson whose 15 minutes of fame have lasted nearly three months,” said Fortune.
The one-of-a-kind album features every living member of the Wu Tang Clan along with a number of special guests, including Cher. Only one finished copy of the album was made, and it was sold through online auction site Paddle8. Shkreli, who considers himself a music fan, finalized purchase of the album in May, before he became the most hated man in America. $2 million seems like a lot for an album, but remember that’s less than half what it cost for him to get bailed out yesterday. The FBI officially confirmed that they did not seize the Wu Tang album.
Unfortunately, the news of the arrest and now the resignation have overshadowed what might be Shkreli’s craziest moment yet. And no, we’re not talking about we he sometimes livestreams himself sleeping.
In an interview with the site HipHopDX, Shkreli says so much crazy shit that it’s hard to keep track. “I’m the most successful Albanian to ever walk the face of this Earth,” he says. “Did you see the thing where I threatened the dude and his fucking kids?” he asks.
“I’m staring at a Picasso in my living room right now that’s no different from the Wu-Tang box except it’s about 20 times more expensive,” he says. “If Taylor Swift wants to come over and suck my dick, I’ll play it for her,” he says. As if that weren’t gross enough, remember that this is coming from a man who was once so desperate that he offered an ex $10,000 for no-recip cunnilingus.
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