How "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli changed the conversation on drug prices

"Pharma Bro" and drug prices

NEW YORK -- We saw a different side of Martin Shkreli in court Friday. The former hedge fund manager and pharmaceutical CEO became famous for jacking up the price of a life-saving drug.

On Friday, he was sentenced for cheating wealthy investors out of millions. Shkreli cried as he told the judge, "I'm not the same person I was. I know right from wrong." He also apologized to the hedge-fund investors he was convicted of defrauding. But the judge game him seven years in prison.

Shkreli made no apologies in 2015 when he raised the price of a critical drug, Daraprim, by 5,000 percent from $13.50 to $750 dollars per pill.

"I could have raised it higher and made more profits for our shareholders which is my primary duty," Shkreli said at the time.

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Martin Shkreli. CBS News

The public disagreed, reacting with shock and putting the entire world of drug pricing under a microscope.

"What he basically showed everyone was that drug companies can set their prices where they want, and they can raise their prices when they feel like it," said Dr. Peter Bach, with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Other companies came under fire including Valeant, for its price increases on old drugs, and Mylan for hikes in the price of the EpiPen.

"Shkreli came at the beginning of a wave of events that I think have had a permanent impact on how people understand the problems we have with drug pricing," said Bach.

As for Shkreli himself? He could have more to say. Before trial, he shared his thoughts in letters with Steve Dorsey, a CBS News radio correspondent, letters that did not match his tone in court Friday.

"He was not remorseful in his letters," said Dorsey. "He was defensive and, at times, antagonistic."

In those letters Dorsey provided, Shkreli also called the people involved in his indictment "fools." In court, he told the judge he was the fool.