Unrepentant ‘Pharma Bro’ Shkreli: If I had the chance, ‘I would have raised the price higher’
Turing Pharmaceuticals founder Martin Shkreli showed no signs of contrition on Thursday when asked during a forum hosted by Forbes magazine how he would have re-done the past few months if given the opportunity.
“I probably would have raised the price higher is probably what I would have done,” said Shkreli, who garnered the nickname “Pharma Bro” after raising the price of the anti-infection drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. “I think health care prices are inelastic. I could have raised it higher and made more profits for my shareholders.”
Shkreli explained that doing so was his “primary duty,” challenging audience members to see if they could run a similar firm by refusing to charge high prices.
“No one wants to say it, no one’s proud of it,” he argued. “But this is a capitalist society, capitalist system, capitalist rules. And my investors expect me to maximize profits. Not minimize them, or go half, or go 70 percent, but to go to 100 percent of the profit curve that we’re all taught in MBA class.”
Last month he backed out of a stated promise to roll back Daraprim prices in response to the public outrage he engendered with his price-gouging practices.
Shkreli’s company lost almost $15 million since he first gained national attention. At the same time, a Senate committee has called on the “self-trained biologist” to discuss his practices. He has refused to appear before the committee as of Thursday night.
He also took an apparent shot at politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for publicly criticizing him, telling interviewer Matthew Herper, “Politicians love to beat up on guys that are seen to be public enemies, if you will. That’s a great way to get elected.”