The man who denied AIDS drugs to African children has been arrested for fraud

Branded ‘the most hated man in America’ by the BBC, Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager and Turing Pharmaceutical CEO, has been arrested for fraud allegations. The 32-year old pharmaceutical entrepreneur is accused of illegally using funds from Retrophin, a biotechnology company he founded in 2011, to pay off debts from his failed hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management.

He was in the news in September 2015 for hiking the price of Daraprim, a 62-year old drug that fights against the life-threatening parasite toxoplasmosis and protects cancer and AIDS patients. He increased the price from $13.50 to $750 per tablet regardless of the fact that Daraprim costs $1 to produce. For the first course of treatment, about 100 tablets are required.


According to the BBC, the roughly 5,000 percent increase and his brash defence of the decision has made him a pariah among patients-rights groups and politicians. In October 2015, Shkreli donated $2,700 to Bernie Sanders’ campaign but Sanders rejected the offer which led to Shkreli accusing him of being a demagogue.

According to the New York Daily news, Shkreli boasted the possibility of raising  the cost of Daraprim even higher. “I could have raised it higher and made more profits for our shareholders, which is my primary duty. No one wants to say it, no one is proud of it, but this is a capitalist society, capitalist system and capitalist rules and my investors expect me to maximize profits,” he said.

In a weak defence, he promised the hike would not prevent poor people from getting the pill, he added that the pharmaceutical company will make a “fair profit” that will help it fund new medicatios to treat the parasite that afflicts pregnant women, cancer patients and other people with weakened immune systems. Vox also reports that in November 2015, Shkreli promised that Turing would offer hospitals a 50 percent discount on Daraprim, meaning the price will have increased 27 times over, from $13.50 to $375 per pill.

Shkreli was not arrested alone, Evan Greebel a former employee of Retrophin, has also been arrested on similar charges, they are expected to be arraigned in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday afternoon.

Seven days ago, the New York Times revealed Shkreli’s plan to increase the price of Benznidazole, a drug which treats Chagas disease, a parasitic infection from the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, that is found in the feces of an insect called the kissing bug, because it often leaves bites on people’s faces.

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