Martin Shkreli Celebrates Price Hike in Newly Released Emails

'$1 bn here we come'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2016 4:12 PM CST

(Newser) – Documents and emails released Tuesday by congressional investigators show "pharma bro" and Internet villain Martin Shkreli "giddily rubbing his palms together at the prospect of all the money Daraprim will generate," as NPR puts it. Shkreli and his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired the drug Daraprim—frequently used by AIDs and cancer patients—in August and instantly raised the price 5,000% to $750 per pill. According to the AP, documents show Turing already planned on using Daraprim to make $200 million a year in profits months before acquiring the drug. The Washington Post quotes a Shkreli email from May reading, "$1 bn here we come." "I think it will be huge," NPR quotes another email from August. "Should be a very handsome investment for all of us." He noted "almost all of it is profit."

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Internal emails also reveal Turing executives believed they could minimize backlash if they kept Daraprim accessible to patients via discounts and assistance programs, and "frame[d] this issue within the HIV/AIDS community as a fight between a drug company and insurance companies," per another email quoted by NPR. That didn't happen, as documents show patients dealing with co-pays from $6,000 to $16,000. Rep. Elijah Cummings—part of the congressional committee investigating pharmaceutical price gouging—says in a statement that the documents show "that many drug companies are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation." A PR consultant sent an email to Turing in October recommending Shkreli be removed as CEO within a week. Instead, he didn't step down as CEO until December, a day after he was arrested for investigation of securities fraud. (Read more Martin Shkreli stories.)

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