Pharma Bro's firm agrees to pay $40 million to patients they price-gouged for lifesaving medicine
Martin Shkreli (Screenshot:YouTube)

On Wednesday, NBC4 Washington reported that a firm once run by Martin Shkreli, a former drug company executive known in media as the "Pharma Bro," has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that will require the business to pay $40 million to patients they price-gouged by raising the cost of a critical medication by 4000 percent.

"The FTC said Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC and its parent company, Phoenixus AG, agreed to settle allegations that it gouged buyers and monopolized sales of Daraprim, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be deadly for people with HIV or other immune-system problems and can cause serious problems for children born to women infected while pregnant," said the report. "Vyera raised the price of the decades-old drug from $17.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to it in 2015."

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"The increase left some patients facing co-pays as high as $16,000 and sparked an outcry that fueled congressional hearings," noted the report. "The company was sued in federal court in New York by the FTC and seven states: New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The lawsuit alleged that Vyera hiked the price of Daraprim and illegally created 'a web of anticompetitive restrictions' to prevent other companies from creating cheaper generic versions by, among other things, blocking their access to a key ingredient for the medication and to data the companies would want to evaluate the drug’s market potential."

Shkreli was also convicted of securities fraud in 2017, as a result of a scheme where he raided stock from one of his biotechnology firms to settle unrelated business debts.

This comes as Congress debates the Build Back Better Act, which has provisions that will control the prices of certain drugs.