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‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli gouged kids with kidney disease before ripping off AIDS patients

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The former hedge funder who bought the rights to a lifesaving anti-toxoplasmosis drug, then jacked the price up 5,500 percent has executed this money-making maneuver before with a medicine for adults and children with kidney disease.

Jeremy Stahl at Slate.com wrote on Tuesday that when Martin Shkreli was the CEO of Retrophin — a pharmaceutical firm that is now suing him for $65 million — he bought the rights to a “decades-old” kidney medication in 2014 and raised the price to more than 20 times its original cost.

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READ MORE: These 37 tweets show how the pharma CEO gouging AIDS patients is even worse than you think

WATCH: ‘Pharma bro’s’ price-gouging scheme leaves British TV host gobsmacked

Retrophin bought the rights to the medication Thiola — which was approved by the FDA in 1988 — and raised the cost from $1 per pill to $30 per pill.

Thiola is used in treatment of the chronic disease cystinuria, a condition that causes patients to constantly form and excrete kidney stones. Patients are typically diagnosed at a young age. Their urine contains high amounts of the amino acid cystine, which crystalizes in the kidneys and travels — often agonizingly — through the bladder and ureter.

There are around 20,000 patients currently in the U.S., many of whom are children. There is no known cure for cystinuria, but Thiola is used along with diet and other life modifications to prevent the kidney stones from forming.

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RELATED: Price-gouging pharma bro under investigation for corporate looting, fraud and stalking

When Retrophin bought Thiola, the annual cost for patients zoomed from $54,750 to $109,500. Steve Brozak wrote in Forbes that Shkreli and his company are “turning patients into commodities like barrels of oil.”

Stahl wrote that “University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Associate Professor of Urology Benjamin Davies called it a case of ‘predatory capitalism on the backs of the sick and silent.’ Writing for Science Transnational Medicine, pharmaceutical columnist Derek Lowe said the Thiola increase was the ‘most unconscionable drug price hike I have yet seen.’”

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Shkreli typically responds to criticism of his predatory business practices with rap lyrics by artists like Eminem or the Wu-Tang Clan.

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RELATED: WATCH: Ex-hedge funder who hiked AIDS pill cost by 5,500 percent says drug ‘still underpriced’

The 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals came to national attention this week when it was revealed that he’d bought the rights to Daraprim and jacked up the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

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Daraprim is used to manage toxoplasmosis, a parasitic blood infection that is harmless to most people but lethal to people who are immune-compromised, including adults and children with HIV and AIDS.


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‘Wow, little man’: Trump shredded by the internet for attempt to intimidate Yovanovitch as she described corruption

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As former United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch spoke before a House impeachment hearing, President Donald Trump launched a frantic attack on the distinguished career diplomat in an obvious attempt to smear her reputation --which stunned and angered Twitter users due to the personal nature of the attacks.

According to the president, "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors."

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Trump smears former Ukrainian ambassador as she delivers devastating testimony against him

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President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at former United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she delivered devastating testimony about corruption within his administration.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," the president wrote. "She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him."

The president then asserted that he had the absolute right to fire any ambassador he wanted, before bragging about doing more to help Ukraine than former President Barack Obama ever did.

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‘Shame on her!’ Conservatives howl in rage after Marie Yovanovitch invokes diplomats killed at Benghazi

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Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch invoked the names of diplomats killed during a raid at Benghazi -- and online conservatives were furious.

The former ambassador testified in the second public hearing of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and she invoked the memory of her slain colleagues to describe the sacrifices made by officials in the State Department.

"We honor these individuals," Yovanovitch testified. "They represent each one of you here and every American. These courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized America. What you need to know, what Americans need to know, is that while thankfully most of us answer the call to duty in far less dramatic ways, every foreign service officer runs the same risks, and very often so do our families."

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