On August 4th, pharmaceutical executive and “Pharmabro” Martin Shkreli was found guilty on three of eight counts in his securities fraud trial. The next day, Shkreli released the following statement via his Facebook page:
I’m delighted with the outcome of the insane witch hunt against me. The government concocted a fantasy world of eight criminal counts connecting nonexistent dots into an elaborate conspiracy encompassing a dozen people. The jury soundly rejected this idiocy, leaving only 3 vacuous charges which ‘stuck’.I am proud of my legal team for all of the hard work which resulted in an acquittal on the serious, ‘loss-carrying’ charges. A simple reading of the USSG suggests a sentence …of “0 to 6 months”:…Finally, I appreciate all of the support from my fans. However, even more than that, I appreciate the foolish hatred from the uninformed. This propels me to succeed–my net worth is at an all-time high, and my new software startup is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. Facing little to no jail time and having stood up to the government face-to-face with no fear, I feel like I can do anything.
Martin Shkreli needs a dose of prison time to wipe that smirk off his face. If they could arrange to make him broke, that would be better.
— Steve Redmond (@sjredmond) August 4, 2017
Just got a little hard…
Martin Shkreli Is Found Guilty of Fraud https://t.co/jE4Z14TXIW
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) August 5, 2017
Given the response to Shkreli’s trial, one is forced to ask: Why is he so polarizing? Why do some people seem to revere him while others hate him? It’s certainly a valid question. A quick look into the people that fall into each of these groups, however, reveals all.
Shkreli’s supporters are much like him. They are young, and politically fall anywhere from moderate to far right-wing. His detractors on the other hand seem to all fall on the liberal side of the political spectrum, and many seem to be older Democrats. Shkreli was, in fact, a relative unknown until a tweet by then Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about Shkreli’s company sparked widespread outrage.
The enormous overnight price increase for Daraprim is just the latest in a long list of skyrocketing price increases https://t.co/C0rxmvXmyj
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 22, 2015
The outrage came after Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of its newly-acquired Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. The left immediately found their new villain of choice in Shkreli, painting him as a snobby rich boy profiting off of the suffering of others. They accused him of letting people die just to line his own pockets. On the surface, these allegations seem to paint Shkreli as a ruthless, money-hungry robber baron. However, a quick look at the facts tells a much different story.
Those who were immediately outraged by the price hike seem to think that there are poor people out there dying because Daraprim is so expensive. One look at the Turing Pharmaceuticals website proves them wrong. According to Turing, approximately two-thirds of their sales are to federal and state health programs like Medicaid or qualified health centers and hospitals. In those two-thirds of sales, these programs and hospitals pay just one cent per pill. Turing also has financial assistance programs that provide medication for free to qualified uninsured patients, and some with commercial insurance are not obligated to pay more than $10 out of pocket. The only entities paying $750 per pill are insurance companies, and that’s where Turing makes their profit.
Now surely, there are still those on the left that are outraged by that. After all, a desire to make a profit is none other than corporate greed. All the money that Turing makes is surely going straight into the pockets of Shkreli and his cohorts. Not quite. For one, despite founding the company in February of 2015, Shkreli left in December of the same year. In the one year that Shkreli was present, a whopping 60% of Turing profits went back into Research and Development. Turing has two drugs in development to replace the controversial Daraprim, which is over 60 years. All the evidence points to the fact that Shkreli was trying to help people with toxoplasmosis, the rare disease that Daraprim treats. Yet people still hate Shkreli and the answer is now obvious why. It’s not due to any shady business dealing or killing people for a profit. It’s due to his success.
Martin Shkreli is unlike any public figure we’ve seen in some time. To describe him as a genius probably wouldn’t be out of play. Despite being the son of two immigrants who worked as janitors, he landed an internship at a Wall Street hedge fund when he was just 17. After graduating Baruch College with a degree in business administration in 2004, Shkreli’s career took off. He founded multiple hedge funds, a biotech firm, and finally Turing, all before the age of 32. As of June 2017, his net worth is estimated to be in excess of $70 million. He’s certainly had no shortage of financial and professional success. The left hates supposed “inequality,” so to see Shkreli doing so well despite his humble background doesn’t compute. They claim the working class is struggling and can’t get ahead, and now they’ve been presented with an example of how wrong they are.
Certainly, Shkreli could be forgiven if he played the left’s games. If he was sorry and took no credit for his own success, he would be hailed as a misunderstood hero, fighting against the greed of evil insurance companies. Instead, he is proud and lives a lavish lifestyle. In November 2014, he purchased Wu-Tang Clan’s one of a kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million. He reportedly purchased Kurt Cobain’s Visa card just so he could get a rise out of people when it’s time to pay a check. Online, he spends his free time trolling reporters, giving lessons in chemistry and finance, and taking phone calls.
He’s the typical rich boy. He’s arrogant, intelligent, and powerful. The left hates him. He represents everything they hate, and there’s nothing they can do to stop him.