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Pharma Skeletons: Martin Shkreli Doses Drug Companies with Their Own Medicine

Martin Shkreli, former CEO of several pharmaceutical companies, who had earned himself the title of the “most hated man in America,” has set up a website to reveal the dirty deeds of other pharmaceutical companies.

Shkreli became notorious when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, hiked prices on its specialized drug Daraprim, used to ease certain conditions in HIV-positive patients, by some 5000 percent. When subpoenaed to answer questions on the price increases, Shkreli proved himself to be arrogant and intractable, at one point refusing to answer all questions, except for those relating to his name, in front of a panel convened by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for the US House of Representatives.

He later tweeted that he considered the lawmakers to be ‘imbeciles.’

The pharmaceutical industry and Stephen Ubl, CEO of the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), quickly distanced themselves from Shkreli. In a response, Shkreli launched a website detailing how his crimes are only a very small part of a much larger ongoing practice within the pharmaceutical industry.

The website, called Pharma Skeletons, is a simple text-only page that lists pharmaceutical giants like AbbVie, Allergan, Merck, Novo Nordisk, and many others. Each listing is accompanied by short, often personal, notes and links to news articles pointing out those companies’ remarkably similar wrongdoings and shady business practices.

“This website took me half an hour to make, just ‘membering a few moments from the past. Pharma is a wonderful industry that does great things, but trying to throw me under the bus is foolish,” Shkreli notes on the site.

Shkreli’s site appears to be an attempt to counter comments made by PhRMA boss Ubl during an appearance on CNBC, in which the latter announced an initiative called GOBOLDLY, diverting public attention from unethical business practices in the pharmaceutical industry by pointing to expensive and groundbreaking drug innovation. During that appearance, Ubl remarked that there should be more attention paid to researchers in “lab coats” and less notice paid to people in “hoodies,” a clear reference to Shkreli’s choice of outerwear.

“Stephen Ubl, don’t you dare point your finger at me for the pharmaceutical industry’s troubles. It turns out we’ve all made some unpopular moves,” Shkreli wrote.

Shkreli, in attempting to justify his own questionable actions, claimed that, as a CEO, he received “a very low or zero salary” at his companies.

“Your CEOs enjoy the fat paychecks they receive from price increases. I put my money from price increases into research,” Shkreli wrote.

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