‘Pharma Bro’ Fined $64 Million and Banned from the Industry

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Dec 18, 2023

Martin Shkreli, known popularly on the internet as “The Pharma Bro,” is trying to overturn a ban given to him by a judge that prohibits the former pharmaceutical CEO from working in the industry.

The fraudster served seven years in prison for misleading investors. Shkreli claims he can’t even get a job working the cashier desk at Walgreens following an order from an American court.

Shkreli’s Fall From Grace

Martin Shkreli was an important player in the pharmaceutical industry under a decade ago, serving as the CEO of both Retrophin and Turing.

Martin Shkreli is seen wearing a hooded grey sweatshirt as federal agents take him in

Source: @aggressive_serve/Reddit

However, in 2017, he was charged and convicted on two accounts of securities fraud and conspiracy. Shkreli was eventually forced to pay over $60 million to victims and was given a seven-year prison sentence.


Pharma Bro Can’t Work at Walgreens

The once-thriving CEO, best known for hiking the price of an anti-infection drug, has pleaded with a federal court to remove an order that prevents him from working anywhere in the pharmaceutical industry.

Walgreens store photographed in Saugus, Massachusetts, during the beginning of the evening

Source: Anthony92931/Wikipedia

The ban is so severe that it prohibits Shkreli from applying to work as a cashier at the popular nationwide pharmacy Walgreens.

Lawyers Claim Breach of Constitutional Right

Lawyers for the discharged former pharmaceutical CEO argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals that the 2022 ban violated his constitutional rights.

The wooden architecture and design present within the building of the U.S Court of Appeals

Source: Cafc Government Website

In addition to the ban, the 40-year-old was forced to pay out $64 million following a scheme to control the market for the drug Daraprim. Such a medication is used to treat a sometimes deadly parasitic infection.

Excluded from the Economy

According to Kimo S. Peluso, an attorney for Skhreli, he’s been excluded from “entire sectors of the economy that have nothing to do with.”

Shkreli smirks as he walks down the main street alongside his lawyer

Source: @MessengerBiz/Getty Images

Shkreli earned himself the title of “America’s most hated man” in 2015 after acquiring Daraprim from the only supplier and hiking the price from $17.50 to $750 per tablet.

District Court Issues Permanent Ban from Industry

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote of New York was the one who passed the ban, which excludes Shkreli from accepting a role in virtually any part of the entire pharmaceutical industry.

Female judge who writes in her notepad as she works from her wooden desk

Source: Freepik

Shkreli’s lawyers have contested this punishment, as they proclaim it prevents him from working in the “entire industry” without measures tailored to his “specific conduct.”


Federal Trade Commission Goes After Shkreli

Seven U.S. states united with The Federal Trade Commission in 2020 and went after Shkreli and the pharmaceutical company Vyera for their malicious practices centered on the Daraprim scandal.

Undercover federal agents perform an investigation on a city street

Source: Freepik

Just a year later, Vyera agreed to pay close to $40 million to resolve the lawsuit brought against them by the Federal Trade Commission.


Vyera Files for Bankruptcy

In May, Vyera filed for bankruptcy alongside a group of companies affiliated with Shkreli. This came after a series of lawsuits were brought against the pharmaceutical entities.

Lawyer looks over financial forms submitted by a company that's filed for bankruptcy

Source: Freepik

The action was carried out by independent directors, who were brought in by a court-appointed receiver who took over control of Shkreli’s shares.


Shkreli Continued His Misconduct Behind Bars

The FTC has argued that Shkreli is a “serial recidivist without remorse” who continued to partake in misconduct even when he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Man contemplates his decisions as he sits behind a locked jail cell

Source: Freepik

According to Bradley Grossman, an attorney for the agency, the injunction is necessary because it is undisputed that Shkreli “controlled an unlawful scheme” and tightened his control after going to prison.


Menace to Society

Grossman went on to explain that Shkreli had no level of remorse for the victims who may have suffered due to the extensive hike in the price of the Daraprim drug.

Martin Shkreli smiles as he sits inside a courtroom beside his attorneys

Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“He showed reckless indifference to the health and safety of the most vulnerable members of society,” Grossman said.


Judge Finds He Has No Experience in the Industry

Judge Cote performed her own research into Shkreli’s background and discovered that he was an individual with no prior experience in the industry outside of the scheme.

Pile of pills and medicines

So she “decided the risk is simply too grave” for someone who “spent his entire career evading restrictions and targeting the most vulnerable individuals.”


Current Whereabouts of Shkreli

Shkreli was released from prison in May 2022 and is currently serving three years of supervised release.

Martin Shkreli, (R), former Chief Executive Officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, exits federal court with his attorney Benjamin Brafman

Source: Eduardo Munoz/Getty Images

According to U.S. probation sources, the former CEO of Retrophin currently lives with his sister in Queens. He has a job consulting for a law firm, earning around $2,500 monthly.