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U.S. judge bans Martin Shkreli from drug trafficking and orders $ 64.6 million




A U.S. judge on Friday banned Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered him to pay $ 64.6 million after he famously raised the price of the drug Daraprim and fought to block generic competitors. (Carlo Allegri, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON – A US judge on Friday banned Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered him to pay $ 64.6 million after he famously raised the price of the drug Daraprim and fought to block generic competitors.

The U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan ruled after a lawsuit in which the US Federal Trade Commission and seven states had accused Shkreli, the founder of Vyera Pharmaceuticals, of using illegal tactics to keep Daraprim rivals out of the market.

Shkreli became famous in 201[ads1]5 after increasing Daraprim’s price overnight to $ 750 per tablet from $ 17.50. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems.

In a 130-page decision, Cote Shkreli blamed the creation of two companies, Vyera and Retrophin, designed to monopolize drugs so that he could serve “on the back” of patients, doctors and distributors.

She said the Daraprim scheme was “particularly heartless and coercive”, and that a life ban was needed in the industry because of the “real danger” for Shkreli to become a repeat offender.

“Shkreli’s anti – competitive conduct at the expense of public health was manifest and reckless,” the judge wrote. “He is not remorseful. To exclude him from the possibility of repeating this behavior is nothing if not in the interest of justice.”

Following the ruling, FTC leader Lina Khan tweeted the decision, calling it a “fair outcome.”

Shkreli’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shkreli is serving a seven-year prison sentence for securities fraud. He did not take part in the trial, which was held last month.

Vyera was founded in 2014 as Turing Pharmaceuticals, and acquired Daraprim from Impax Laboratories in 2015.

Regulators accused Vyera of protecting its dominance of Daraprim by ensuring that generic drug manufacturers could not obtain samples for cheaper versions, and preventing potential rivals from buying a key ingredient.

The seven states that joined the FTC case included California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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