Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharmaceutical CEO who made headlines in 2015 for purchasing an exclusive Wu-Tang Clan album, has been barred from the drug industry.
The incarcerated former hedge fund manager has been ordered to return the $64.6million (£47.2million) in profits that he made by price-gouging the drug Daraprim in 2015. He’s also been banned from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again.
The US District Court ruling in Manhattan on Friday (January 14) came in response to a multi-state lawsuit accusing Shkreli of illegal and monopolistic behaviour. AP reports that prosecutors last month presented at trial recordings of conversations that appeared to prove that Shkreli was continuing to exert control over his company, Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC, while he was serving his seven-year prison sentence.
In the recordings, Shkreli made indications of plans to prevent generic versions of Daraprim, a life-saving drug used to combat a rare parasitic disease, from being sold. The drug’s price was increased by $13.50 (£9.87) to $750 (£548) in 2015 by Vyera after it purchased exclusive rights to the drug.
US District Judge Denise Cote said at the trial’s conclusion last month: “Shkreli was no side player in, or a ‘remote, unrelated’ beneficiary of Vyera’s scheme. He was the mastermind of its illegal conduct and the person principally responsible for it throughout the years.”
Shkreli, who was convicted of fraud in 2017, was found in the recent trial of keeping in frequent contact with Vyera executives even after he was placed behind bars. In 2019, he was sent to solitary confinement after prison guards discovered that he was 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 added.
Last year, the US government found a new owner for the only known copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s 2015 album ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ after seizing it from Shkreli upon his incarceration in 2018.