FTC asks court to hold ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli in contempt

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday asked a federal judge to hold the infamous “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli in contempt for failing to pay a $65 million fine and for violating a lifetime ban on working in the pharmaceutical industry.

In a motion filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, the FTC and regulators from several states said Shkreli has “flouted” the court’s order by ignoring requests to provide documents and sit for interviews.

A federal judge last year banned Shkreli for life “from directly or indirectly participating in any manner in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Shkreli in July announced the formation of a new company, Druglike. The company’s press release described it as “a Web3 drug discovery software platform co-founded by Martin Shkreli,” that purports to revolutionize early-stage drug discovery.

The FTC said it couldn’t assess whether the company violated Shkreli’s lifetime ban because he did not send documents or sit for interviews with regulators.

“Martin Shkreli’s failure to comply with the court’s order demonstrates a clear disregard for the law,” Holly Vedova, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. “The FTC will not hesitate to deploy the full scope of its authorities to enable a comprehensive investigation into any potential misconduct.”

An attorney for Shkreli did not immediately comment.

Shkreli was also ordered to return $64.6 million in wrongfully obtained profits as part of an antitrust lawsuit brought by seven states and the FTC over a drug pricing scheme. His former company agreed to pay up to $40 million, and Shkreli had until March 6, 2022, to pay his nearly $25 million share of the fine.

In its court filing Friday, the FTC alleges Shkreli has not paid anything towards the judgment, “and has made no efforts to comply.”

The judge found Shkreli had gouged the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by 4,000 percent and created a scheme to block all generic competition and maintain a monopoly.

Shkreli notoriously told Congress he should have increased the price more, and maintained he did nothing wrong.

Shkreli was separately convicted of securities fraud in 2017, and was released from prison last May.

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