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Martin Shkreli sentenced for monopoly and banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry

Nicknamed a time « the most hated man in America », he had drawn the wrath of the American political world after having made the price of Daraprim, a drug against toxoplasmosis and malaria, jump by… 5,400%.

The provocative pharmacy entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, 38, was found guilty of monopoly and sentenced on Friday January 14 to pay back the profits he had made from his anti-competitive practices, i.e. nearly 65 million dollars (nearly €57 million). Imprisoned for another case, the man was also banned for life from the pharmaceutical sector, judge Denise Cote decided.

Mr. Shkreli had made a specialty of buying up cheap drug patents and then massively increasing the price. The Daraprim had thus gone overnight from 13.50 to 750 dollars (from 12.1 to 673 euros) in 2015. The American competition authority and the prosecutors of seven States had filed a complaint in January 2020 against the entrepreneur and the company he founded.

Released November 2022

Originally called Turing and since renamed Vyera, the latter had pledged in December not to try to block competition again on this product and to pay up to 40 million dollars to a compensation fund to settle the lawsuits.

The deal did not bind its founder, who officially handed over the reins of the company at the end of 2015. Martin Shkreli’s trial took place over seven days in December. Already sentenced in 2018 to seven years in prison for stock market fraud, he is currently serving his sentence in a penal institution in Pennsylvania and should theoretically be released in November 2022.

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Mr. Shkreli not only increased the price of Daraprim, but he also organized himself to prevent the arrival of competitors on the market for as long as possible, estimated the judge. Vyera has on the one hand prevented generic drug manufacturers from having access to a sufficient quantity of Daraprim to conduct the necessary tests, she detailed. By entering into exclusivity agreements, the company has also blocked access to two essential ingredients for the manufacture of the product.

Mr. Shkreli can be held responsible for this strategy since, even after relinquishing his titles as CEO and then Chairman of the Board, he continued to exercise some control over the management of the company as a majority shareholder, including from prison, underlined the judge.

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