Martin Shkreli was largely unknown to the majority of America -- that was until last week. Shkreli is a CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, which, on the surface, sounds legit. He announced that his company was going to raise the price of their medication. That sounds reasonable; sometimes companies need to raise the price of goods a little to gain a profit.
What lies beneath the rather beige exterior is a horrendous, green abomination that has everyone -- customers and on-lookers alike -- seeing red. The drug they sell is Daraprim, which is used to boost compromised immune systems -- particularly for patients with cancer and AIDS -- and their price hike was substantial, from $13 to $750 a pill.
Twitter launched appropriate outrage towards the 32 year old CEO, which he brazenly addressed with taunts and ennui. Each arrogant response irritated the masses to the breaking point, complete with over the top Instagram pictures of Skreli showcasing his wealth. His Twitter account has now been made private.
Turns out his outlandish antics have landed him on the outside looking in. Tuesday he announced that they would not be hiking the price 5,000%:
It is absolutely a reaction, there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action. I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people.
The damage had already been done when the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) announced that they disavowed him as if he had failed a "Mission Impossible" mission. Wednesday, BIO (Biotech Industry Organization) decided to evict Turing as well. A spokesperson for BIO had this glowing review:
Turing Pharmaceuticals was a member of BIO for a brief period of time and is currently no longer a member. The company and its leadership do not reflect the commitment to innovation and values that are at the core of BIO's reputation and mission. For that reason, BIO determined, after a review of Turing's membership status, that the company did not meet our eligibility criteria, and we took action to rescind its membership and return its membership dues.
This is instant justice for a gigantic clown shoe, but the rabbit hole goes deeper than that. This former hedge fund manager, pompous asshole is the tip of the iceberg. On the heels of the Pope's tremendous speech in front of Congress today, where do we draw the line between profits and human decency? Daraprim is one of the drugs they give to cancer and AIDS patients to ensure their prognosis is not instant death as they battle their afflictions. Do profits truly outweigh a human life? Cold hard cash is a sufficent replacent for a human life? According to Martin Skreli, it is.