You may remember me writing about this ass hat! Well, Fuckface is back in the news!
He is viewed as a prodigy by some, a sociopath by others. At 32 years of age, and as former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, no one can deny that Martin Shkreli has captured the public’s attention — though most of this attention passes through a lens clouded, justifiably, by utter distaste for the actions that brought him into the spotlight.
Several months ago, Shkreli sparked outrage when he raised the price of the drug Daraprim by 5,500%. In the face of intense criticism, he pledged to reduce the price. Then, shortly after making this pledge, he walked it back.
While he claimed that the price hike was justified due to the costly nature of drug research, internal communications reveal that the prospect of extraordinary profit always came before concern for those who would be unable to receive treatment due to the new, exorbitant price.
Now, after being arrested for securities-fraud charges — and after taunting public officials on social media — he sits before Congress with, it seems, nothing to say.
“On the advice of counsel I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.”
Eschewing words, he resorted to facial expressions to demonstrate his contempt for the questioners.
At one point, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings sharply responded to Shkreli’s smug grin:
“It’s not funny, Mr. Shkreli, people are dying.”
Shkreli, after leaving the hearing, proceeded to ridicule Congress:
He also retweeted praise heaped upon him by supporters.
Some insist that Shkreli is merely a
bad apple fuckhead; others say that he is the product of a health care system that permits pharmaceutical companies to price-gouge at the expense of the sick.
One hopes that we, as a nation, can move beyond Shkreli and his antics and into the broader, and ultimately more important, discussion of the roles of pharmaceutical companies and the federal government in setting drug prices, along with such related matters as patents and generic competition.
“Pharma bro” may indeed be “the most hated man in America” at the moment, but to focus on him and his repellent qualities is to distract from the big picture, which is, in the end, far more consequential.