Martin Shkreli In His Own Words

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli proudly continues his tenure as the industry’s greatest pariah. Speaking before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a hearing on prescription drug prices, Mr. Shkreli displayed what can only be described as utter contempt for the proceeding and his own hubris.

Mr. Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when questioned by the committee, which of course is his right, but throughout the committee’s questioning he demeaned representatives with gestures such as rolling his eyes, playing with a pencil, and giving smirks. It is certain to garner almost equally the infamy of those smirks of Bernie Madoff.

The video below speaks for itself.

At the end of the hearing, Mr. Shkreli tweeted his contempt for the committee in a manner that is only certain to preserve his reputation as an arrogant, self-centered man having only regard for his own playboy image and that his self-importance is above the various people for which his former drug company allegedly sought to provide benefit.

The pharmaceutical industry itself should be worried by crass demonstrations by CEOs of other companies as it is only certain to invite greater scrutiny and unfavorable legislation enacted by Congress.

By Darren Smith

Source: C-SPAN

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

27 thoughts on “Martin Shkreli In His Own Words”

  1. PhillyT, I have to say that if people find a drug works well for them, they will promote it themselves and the drug company won’t have to spend so much on marketing. The real answer is for drug companies to make products that actually work well and prevent or cure sickness and diseases.

    I told my doctor, “I’ve found a great new over-the-counter tranquilizer I can use. Actually, it’s been around for quite a while. It’s from the makers of Geritol, and it’s called ‘Damitol’. And, you know, this stuff works so well that just saying its name helps relax me!” His reply: “Cute.”

  2. I hope the unintended consequence of this is that US government will start negotiating all drug prices the way governments in the rest of the developed world do.

    And listen to the drug companies scream that they will have to cut back on research! Never marketing of course, only research. Ask your doctor if Damitol is right for you! Help we’re being strangled by the invisible hand! Arrrrrgh!

  3. The focus on subminow Martin Shkreli, while the truly big whale criminal enterprises like Pfizer accumulate even more wealth and power, with hardly any scrutiny at all, just demonstrates the hypocrisy and fraud that the US Government drones and, to a large extent, the American public perpetuate.

    Yes, I know that every decade or so then big pharmaceutical criminals like Pfizer pay fines of $1 billion or so for just some of their many violations of law, but that is chump change to them compared to the tens of billions of dollars they make and continue to make from their criminal enterprises.

    The gigantic difference in the treatment between subminow Shreli and megawhale Pfizer is that Pfizer tells the US Government representatives what to do, and not the other way around, as in Shkreli’s case.

    But by all means, continue the focus on Shreli than on Pfizer. Better to believe in the fantasy of justice in America than in the harsh reality that the US Government is a cesspool of waste, abuse, fraud, mismanagement, and crime. By this means, you can pretend that you’re “good” and “concerned” citizens.

  4. JR:

    I do think the FDA process can and should be improved. Sometimes, they are not reactive enough to reports of adverse events. Sometimes the process just takes too long.

    There are a very few sister regulatory tracks in other countries that the FDA could fast track for approval. But there are also many countries (China) that cut corners and even fabricate data and I would never trust anything of theirs in my body. But for countries whose regulatory process is very similar to our own, we could absolutely streamline the approval process for use in the US.

  5. JR

    I have no doubt that she may have an unsavory character. In my opinion, however, that is irrelevant, as she was simply willing to carry out and perform directives, which emanated from the highest of levels. That’s far more sinister than making the innocuous “support from above” classification. Is a presidential order merely support from above?

  6. This crook has sent shockwaves through the pharmaceutical industry, an industry already hard hit by job losses as operations shift overseas. There are now layoffs similar to what burnt through aerospace. People are saying kids can’t have STEM jobs anymore, because companies just outsource overseas, mainly to India for high tech and science jobs. Lord help us, they are also in some cases shifting pharmaceutical manufacturing overseas. Gee, I wonder how that will turn out?

    This man is an arrogant crook, who will likely be sent to jail. And yet his actions may affect an entire industry.

    Of course we need to prevent usurious rates for medications.

    Here are the issues:
    1. It takes 10 years and millions of dollars to get an investigational new drug (IND) through the FDA. After that they have a 7 year patent. If someone charges too much, competition is not as agile as in other industries. Finding a completely different alternative can take many years. And if the market for the drug is not large, it’s not financially worth it.
    2. For every successful new drug to complete its FDA clinical trials, there is a battlefield of dead drugs behind it. More drugs fail than succeed. And each of those drugs took many man hours of scientists and research associates and lab techs, and all the other employees of the company, as well as the prohibitively expensive lab equipment, manufacturing equipment, lab space, buildings, etc. The cost of a drug is not just its ingredients. It’s everything that went into developing it, putting it through trial, as well as all the failures that came before. In addition, most companies donate drugs to those in financial need, or overseas to Third World nations.
    3. A company has only 7 years to recoup its cost, cover its failures, and make its profit before generics can out compete it. So they charge a lot more than they would if they could count on that revenue stream forever.

    So legislators need to be very careful they understand what goes into pricing medications before they try to price fix. If a Senator believes the price of a drug is its ingredients, and tries to cap it at a certain amount over ingredient cost, that’s it. No more pharmaceutical industry.

    And before people start clamoring for it become a socialized industry, it’s billions of dollars in an industry that at least responds to market pressure and can be sued for negligence. Put the government in charge of making all pharmaceuticals and it will become bloated, unaccountable, and it will ignore patient demand. Plus, where will all those billions and billions of dollars come from? From us. If you eat healthy, exercise, and take care of yourself, you have the possibility to lead a healthy life and reduce or remove dependence on medications. Instead, you would pay the same in higher taxes to support a socialized pharmaceutical industry no matter your lifestyle. And since government is inefficient, you would overpay.

    We can regulate the pharmaceutical industry to prevent gross overcharging, but we need to be savvy about the process. There are already laws in place against price gouging during a natural disaster. Perhaps such laws could be used as a framework for very precise limits. And lawmakers would need to be ready to adjust such laws after observing their effect.

  7. Shkreli should bunk with Madoff, for however many hundreds of years. Now there would be a sit com.

  8. Lois Lerner didn’t act of her own accord. She was told–ordered–what to do and to whom it should be done. Who was it, exactly, that orchestrated and ordered her to act as she did?

  9. This is an old drug. An article in the New Yorker captured the problem perfectly, using the regulatory process as a form of rent seeking:

    “… even with a generic drug, regulatory barriers and a lack of competition can make big price hikes possible. In Daraprim’s case, only one company had regulatory approval to sell the drug in the United States. … in principle, other companies could produce their own versions of Daraprim. But it seemed a fair bet that none of them would try. The market for Daraprim is small—eight to twelve thousand prescriptions a year in the U.S.—and any company that wanted to enter the market would have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of getting F.D.A. approval. As it happens, several companies already make and sell a generic version of Daraprim abroad, but they weren’t a worry, either, because they, too, would have to jump through the F.D.A.’s hoops to sell it here … Turing’s business model is a quintessential example of rent seeking: increasing profits not by adding real value for customers but by exploiting loopholes.”

    So perhaps we ought to reform the FDA’s regulatory process.

    As it turns out, Shkreli may have a long history of behavior that may violate securities laws and misuse of company assets as CEO of companies he ran so maybe he’ll be successfully prosecuted. Years in a cell with Lois Lerner would seem an appropriate punishment for both – though unfortunately Lerner’s friends in high places have insured she will not be prosecuted.

  10. Doesn’t seem strange that he would take the Fifth on his drug pricing, when he was so open about it when he was doing it?

  11. If the government wants you bad enough, they will get you. Now the question is, who has he contributed to?

  12. What law(s) has this contemptible POS violated? Our government uses eminent domain, asset forfeiture and any number of federal and state agencies to destroy the lives of completely innocent citizens, so why not this guy? If ever there existed a perceived justification to bring the full force of our weaponized, administrative state to bear on a citizen’s life, liberty and property, this would be the guy.

  13. No doubt this guy is bad news and should be dealt with as harsh as possible. Then again why are we not outraged that Lois Lerner and Hilary Clinton get a pass for their contempt of the process? Start putting some bite in these investigations dealing with the politicians and I’m sure anyone who goes before them thereafter will behave differently.

  14. I hope that he rolls his eyes, contorts his face and smirks at his cellmate, Bubba. Never fear. What this committee was incapable of teaching him will, eventually, be taught to him by Bubba, as he proceeds to clean the floor with him. He will learn respect, the hard way.

  15. He may be a total jackass but he treated the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with the respect they deserve.

Comments are closed.