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Law & Crime

Pharma Bro Found Guilty of Fraud

Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli, the bully who hiked up the price of an HIV drug nearly 5,000 percent overnight, now faces up to 20 years in prison.

A jury has found Martin Shkreli guilty on two counts of security fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit security fraud, and not guilty on five other counts, in a trial that centered on the former pharmaceutical executive's management of two hedge funds.

The trial itself lasted for five weeks in a Brooklyn court, and jury deliberations lasted nearly five days. Shkreli is best-known for hiking the price of a life-saving drug, Daraprim, while acting as CEO at Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Daraprim has been available since 1953. Shkreli bought the rights to sell Daraprim to treat a parasite infection, only to raise the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill. Later, he defended the 5,000 percent price hike as "not greedy at all."

Daraprim was originally developed as a treatment for toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite. It comes from eating under-cooked meat or drinking contaminated water, and impacts those with compromised immune systems, like HIV and cancer patients.

When Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim to $750 per tablet, the average cost of treatment for patients rose from about $1,130 to $63,000. For some patients, the cost went as high as $634,000.

While Shkreli acknowledged the move might look "greedy," he said there are "a lot of altruistic properties to it."

"This is a disease where there hasn't been one pharmaceutical company focused on it for 70 years. We're now a company that is dedicated to the treatment and cure of toxoplasmosis. And with these new profits we can spend all of that upside on these patients who sorely need a new drug, in my opinion," he later added

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