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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Turing Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli Arrested in Securities Probe

Drug company executive was vilified for dramatically boosting drug prices
The best news I've heard all day
CBC News 
Martin Shkreli, chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals, exits federal court in New York on Dec. 17, 2015. Shkreli was arrested on alleged securities fraud related to Retrophin Inc., a biotech firm he founded in 2011. (Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg)

Pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, vilified for buying up drug companies and then dramatically boosting the prices of some medications, has been charged by the FBI with securities fraud related to his former hedge fund and a drug company he once ran. 

Shkreli, 32, currently the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was taken into custody at his New York City home Thursday. 

The case relates to his dealings at two firms, including Retrophin Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that he founded and used to head. Shkreli's arrest also stems from his time as manager of hedge fund MSMB Capital Management.

A seven-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court charged Shkreli with:

Conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Securities fraud. 

The indictment alleges Shkreli, among others, fraudulently induced people to invest in two separate funds, and misappropriated the assets of Retrophin to satisfy Shkreli's personal and unrelated professional debt obligations.

Shkreli "engaged in multiple schemes to ensnare investors through a web of lies and deceit," U.S. attorney Robert Capers said in a statement.

Retrophin sued Shkreli in August for $65 million US. The firm claimed Shkreli had used his control over Retrophin to enrich himself and pay off claims of investors in MSMB. Shkreli denied those allegations.

"Pride goes before a fall"
Increased drug price by 5,000%

The new allegations levelled at Shkreli on Thursday have nothing to do with the price-gouging accusations that turned him into a poster boy for corporate greed back in September.

Shkreli was widely vilified when he jacked up the price of Daraprim, a potentially life-saving anti-parasitic drug treatment, from $13.50 a pill to $750.

The drug is the only one that is approved for the treatment of toxoplasmosis, a disease that is most common among pregnant women, cancer patients and AIDS patients.

Faced with a firestorm of protest, he initially said his firm would lower the price. But Turing Pharmaceuticals later backed away from that promise.

It's pretty obvious what kind of character a person has when he holds sick people and government medical systems to ransom for the sake of personal gain. So it should not be surprising if he has no more regard for the law than he does for the welfare of the people who use his products.

With files from Reuters and The Associated Press