Martin Shkreli banned from pharmaceutical business for life

Disgraced drug company executive Martin Shkreli, derided as the “Pharma Bro,” was banned from ever doing business again in the pharmaceutical business, a judge ordered on Friday.

Shkreli was also ordered to pay $64.6 million in profits he scored from hiking the price of the drug Daraprim, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote ruled in New York.

The court order is tied to a lawsuit, filed by the Federal Trade Commission and several states, including New York and California, that accused the imprisoned Shkreli of monopolistic behavior.

“Shkreli is liable on each on the claims presented in this action. An injunction shall issue banning him for life from participating in the pharmaceutical industry in any capacity,” Cote wrote in her ruling. 

“He is ordered to pay the plaintiff states $64.6 million in disgorgement.”

As CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals — later Vyera — Shkreli inflated the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, after obtaining exclusive rights to the decades-old drug in 2015. Daraprim is needed by those suffering from a rare parasitic disease that strikes AIDS patients, cancer victims and pregnant women.

“Envy, greed, lust, and hate,’ don’t just ‘separate,’ but they obviously motivated Mr. Shkreli and his partner to illegally jack up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives hung in the balance,” New York Attorney General James said in statement.

But Shkreli is better known in pop culture for his snarky, unapologetic persona that earned him the “Pharma Bro” moniker and derision from all corners of American life.

He’s now serving time for securities fraud.

“But Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more,” James said. “A federal court has not only found that his conduct was illegal, but also banned this convicted criminal from the pharmaceutical industry for life and required him to pay nearly $65 million.”

An attorney for Shkreli could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

Despite widespread backlash to Shkreli, the drug company executive never backed away from publicity.

Back in late 2015, Shkreli purchased the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” for $2 million.

But last year, the U.S. government sold that rare album to help pay off his debts. He had been ordered to forfeit $7.3 million in assets after he was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Those forfeited assets included the “Shaolin” album.

Suzanne Ciechalski and Associated Press contributed.