Martin Shkreli, Infamous After Raising Price of AIDS Drug by 5,000 Percent, Cries as He's Sentenced to Prison
Martin Shkreli — the biotech entrepreneur who, more than two years ago, gained infamy by increasing a life-saving drug’s price by 5,000 percent — cried in court on Friday before being sentenced to seven years in prison, according to numerous reports.
In August, the 34-year-old was convicted on federal fraud charges for misleading investors about a pair of hedge funds he operated. Shkreli, known derisively as “Pharma Bro,” also manipulated stock shares for his company Retrophin, and used cash from that to pay back investors in his failed hedge funds.
CNBC reports that Shkreli asked for leniency before learning his fate.
“The one person to blame for me being here today is me,” the news outlets quotes him as saying. “Not the government. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli.”
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He continued: “I took down Martin Shkreli with my disgraceful and shameful actions. This is my fault. I am no victim here. Do not feel bad for me.”
The Associated Press reports that Shkreli broke down in tears as he pleaded for leniency.
Shkreli had been facing 15 years.
He will get credit for the six months he has spent in jail since last fall.
Shkreli has also been ordered to turn over nearly $7.4 million to the federal government and submit to mental health counseling upon his release, reports the AP.
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Last week, his lawyers asked for a light sentence in a filing to the judge, according to the BBC, calling Shkreli “a kind, caring and generous person who uses his time and effort to help those in need.”
The filing added: “If not warehoused in prison, Martin could literally save lives.”
His lawyers plan to appeal the sentence.
As CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Shkreli increased the price of Daraprim — the only FDA approved treatment for a rare parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis that strikes pregnant women, cancer patients and AIDS patients — from $13.50 to $750 a pill.
The 5,000 percent increase sparked backlash, prompting Shkreli to lower the price of the drug.