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Martin Shkreli: Man who made huge profits by inflating price of life-saving drug ordered to return £47m

·2-min read

A man whose drugs company made huge profits by inflating the price of a life-saving drug has been ordered to return $64.6m (£47m).

Martin Shkreli, who has since been jailed, has also been barred from the pharmaceutical industry for life.

Shkreli, 38, increased the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to it in 2015.

The decades-old drug treats a rare parasitic disease that affects pregnant women, people with cancer and Aids patients.

Shkreli, who was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals - later Vyera - said it was capitalism at work and insurance would ensure that people who needed Daraprim got it.

But his behaviour led to outrage. Hillary Clinton described it as price-gouging and Donald Trump said Shkreli was a "spoiled brat".

He resigned as Turing's chief executive in 2015 after being arrested on securities fraud charges relating to hedge funds he ran before moving into the pharmaceuticals industry.

He was convicted and is serving a seven-year sentence.

Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC was sued by the Federal Trade Commission and seven states: New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

They alleged that as well as hiking the price of Daraprim, Vyera created "a web of anti-competitive restrictions".

The effect of that, they claimed, was to prevent other companies from creating cheaper generic versions, partly by blocking their access to a key ingredient.

While Shkreli proceeded to trial, Vyera and its parent company, Phoenixus AG, settled last month, agreeing to provide up to $40m in relief over 10 years to consumers and to make Daraprim available to any potential generic competitor at cost.

Former Vyera chief executive Kevin Mulleady agreed to pay $250,000 if he violates the settlement, which prevents him from working for a pharmaceutical company for seven years.

The ruling on Shkreli follows a seven-day trial in New York in December.

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