Martin Shkreli recently told the Wall Street Journal that he was only pretending to be a terrible person. It was all a carefully orchestrated social experiment, according to the former CEO of the Turning pharmaceuticals company.
“What do you do when you have the attention of millions of people? It seemed to me like it would be fun to experiment with.”
Not only did Shkreli claim that he has been conducting an epic social experiment, but he also says that he was arrested for his experiment and legal business practices.
“because of a social experiment and teasing people over the Internet…”
As CEO of Turning, Mr. Shkreli hiked the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent. While this practice is technically legal in the United States, it hasn’t stopped users of social media from constantly bashing Shkreli.
Last week, Martin Shkreli was arrested by the FBI. The arrest was reportedly not related to his price hike, rather it had to do with other, illegal business practices that Shkreli took part in. The Federal prosecutor charged the business man with securities fraud and conspiracy charges. A second person was also arrested and charged with conspiracy charges in relation to the case.
Shkreli is alleged to have run his company as a ponzi scheme. He reportedly ran a ponzi scheme that involved his Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company that he started, and his hedge funds.
Though the government says their investigation has nothing to do with Turning’s drug price hike, Shkreli thinks otherwise. He also said that the allegations the FBI has made against him are “baseless” and that he will overcome the upcoming legal proceedings.
I am confident I will prevail. The allegations against me are baseless and without merit.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 19, 2015
What really made people online dislike Shkreli was his drug price gouging. As reported by CBS news, Shkreli increased the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. That move rose the annual treatment cost from from $1,130 to $63,000. The drug in question is used to help fight an infection that affects people with low immune systems, including cancer patients.
In an interview with CBS, Shkreli defended his business practices and attempted to normalize them. He told the interviewer that at the old price, his company would have been losing money. The reasonable thing to do, according to Shkreli, was to increase the price of the drug by 5,000 percent.
“Well, it depends on how you define so drastically. Because the drug was unprofitable at the former price, so any company selling it would be losing money. And at this price it’s a reasonable profit. Not excessive at all…”
This particular act of alleged price gouging has lead to widespread outrage. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both publicly shamed Turning for the massive price increase.
Users of social media have been attacking Shkreli for some time now. It appears as though the oft-criticized business man may actually enjoy all the negative interactions and attention. Before he was arrested, Shkreli bought a Wu Tang Clan one-of-a-kind album for $2 million.
Because of the ongoing investigation into the alleged shady business practices, some have speculated that the Wu Tang album could be confiscated by the FBI. But, the bureau put that hope to bed when it announced that it had not obtained a seizure warrant in Shkreli’s case.
#Breaking no seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn’t seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) December 17, 2015
If Shkreli was staging a long-term social experiment in which he pretended to be a rich, uncaring person, he did very well. So well, in fact, that he may end up in prison.
[Photo by Craig Ruttle/AP]