Abby Jones Follow January 16, 2022 | 3:08pm ET
Disgraced pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli has been banned from the industry forever, and has also been ordered to return the $64.6 million in profits he made by price-gouging the drug Daraprim.
The ruling in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Friday came in response to a multi-state lawsuit accusing Shkreli of illegal and monopolistic behavior. According to the Associated Press, over the course of a seven-day trial last month, prosecutors presented recordings of conversations that appeared to show Shkreli continuing to exert control over his company, Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC, while he was behind bars. Those recordings also indicated that Shkreli had plans to prevent generic versions of Daraprim, a life-saving drug used to combat a rare parasitic disease, from being sold. Back in 2015, Vyera raised the price of a single pill of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 after obtaining exclusive rights to the drug.
“Shkreli was no side player in, or a ‘remote, unrelated’ beneficiary of Vyera’s scheme,” Cote said. “He was the mastermind of its illegal conduct and the person principally responsible for it throughout the years.”
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The trial record included evidence that Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud in 2017 and sentenced to seven years in prison, kept in regular contact with company executives, even after he was incarcerated. In 2019, he was sent to solitary confinement after prison officials found him using a contraband smartphone to conduct business.
“Whether he used a smuggled phone or the prison’s authorized phones, he stayed in touch with Vyera’s management and exercised his power over Vyera as its largest shareholder,” Cote said.
Shkreli’s attempts to get out of prison have all proven futile. In 2019, he lost an appeal to overturn his conviction, and 2020, he petitioned to be released early, citing that he had “been conducting significant research into developing molecules to inhibit the coronavirus.” His request was denied.
The cherry on top: As part of his $7.36 million assets forfeiture, the US government recently sold Shkreli’s exclusive copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.