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FTC says pharma no to "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli charged with price-fixing
FTC charges "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli with fixing price of life-saving drug 01:16

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday said convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli should be held in contempt of court for launching a new drug company after he was banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life. 

An earlier court order prohibited Shkreli "from directly or indirectly participating in any manner in the pharmaceutical industry" and ordered him to pay up to $65 million in monetary relief. Shkreli in 2018 was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud. He served four years and was released from Pennsylvania's Allenwood Low Federal Correctional Institution in May of 2022.

The FTC asked the United District Court for the Southern District of New York to find Shkreli in civil contempt for failing to satisfy the monetary judgment and for forming a new company, called Druglike, described as "a platform for democratizing the access, costs and rewards of early-stage drug discovery."

The agency also said Shkreli has not complied with requests to turn over information and make himself available for interviews related to its probe into Druglike. 

"We hope to resolve this misunderstanding with the FTC quickly," Brianne Murphy, an attorney for Shkreli, told CBS MoneyWatch. "We believe Druglike does not violate Judge Cote's order as it is a software company rather than a drug company."

Martin Shkreli
Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli seen August 4, 2017, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Shkreli, once dubbed the "Pharma Bro," described Druglike in a July 25, 2022, press release as a "Web3 drug discovery software platform." The technology will speed the development of new drugs and benefit "underserved" communities with rare diseases or in developing markets, he said. 

Shkreli drew a barrage of criticism in 2015 when he hiked the cost of AIDS drug Daraprim by 5,000% during his tenure as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. But his legal woes stemmed from a 2018 conviction for defrauding investors in two hedge funds.

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