Martin Shkreli is right: fraud charges only arose because of pharma scumbaggery

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If you read the accounts of what he did, you’d know that the pharma douchery in question was his last ditch effort to get himself out of a mountain of debt which he owed to investors, whose money he lost on bad trading and embezzlement when he was running his first hedge funds.


Agreed. It’s more a case of “why would someone do this? there must a reason” than “let’s nail the guy who abused capitalism.”

Stories abound of people who attempt get-rich-quick schemes, run into a problem, and then follow up with more dramatic get-rich-quick schemes that eventually expose the original problem.

The real problem is that Martin Shkreli is being pegged as a fall guy. He’s responsible for a very tiny subset of all the things he’s been involved in. He’s being brought to stand for it because no one is going to stand up to Pfizer.


Why would anyone think the FBI operates this quickly?


Too much crime-drama television? It’s been more than 45 minutes since the story broke, afterall.


While I’m not trying to defend Pfizer, at least they have actual development costs.


“His crime wasn’t financial fraud, in other words: it was bringing capitalism into disrepute.”


Oh, wait, this whole thing is based on an interview with Shkreli? So now we’re supposed to take him at his word and think that he’s just a pawn being pushed around by greed or something?

I’d say he had the daytime perp walk because of his behavior but the accusations of his Ponzi scheme are a separate matter. Those are what he was arrested for.

I just hope his lawyers are smart enough to send out an invoice at the end of every week.


That’s one of the most astute things all day, and could provide plot material for a whole lot of novels.


Roger That


This seems to be an extension of my original theory when they announced the huge mark up on the drug them later announce they would rescind the increase. I said the other pharma companies (who also jack up the prices on drugs way beyond the cost to produce them) took him out back and told him you’re supposed to do it in smaller increments so nobody notices. He changed his mind and tried to get as much as he could about it and this was his punishment. My conspiracy theory would have somebody in the Big Pharma Cabal dropping a dime deep throat style on him. I should write a book. Oops I probably shouldn’t have put this on a Doctorow post


Totes. They should make a movie with this character. Maybe add in a recognizable sports star and it would really be great cross marketing.


I’d say that that is either unfair to ‘fall guys’ or excessively generous. He is a ‘fall guy’ in the very weak sense of being the most obnoxious and not-usefully-powerful guilty guy in a room full of guilty guys; but (barring exculpatory revelations) he doesn’t have the ‘actually an innocent patsy and/or bit player in the scheme having all the guilt pinned on him’ properties of a true fall guy.

His scheme, as alleged, is pretty small time compared to the grand rip-offs of western civilization; but it is his scheme. He almost certainly is a victim of selective prosecution, under laws often violated by people with more taste and the ability to keep their mouths shut; but he is the main player in the scheme with which he is charged, and what he allegedly did seems pretty reasonably illegal.

The real problem is that we aren’t prosecuting hard and wide enough that even achingly polite and polished white collar criminals are equally at risk.

(Also, not going to stick up for Pfizer; but GlaxoSmithKline owned the marketing rights up through 2010 without presiding over a grand price increase, so apparently some areas of ‘big pharma’ are either too apathetic or PR-sensitive to rock the boat. The US price was comfortably higher than that of various other locations; but well below the ‘or you could die…’ price point. Only a bold ‘disrupter’ could really shake things up.)


I’ve been thinking this exact same thing since the news came down that he was arrested.

Power is a social contract between the ruler and the ruled. We like to think that because we have this “democracy” thing, that we the general populace, are not ruled. But the fact is that there’s a class of rich and powerful people who run things in our society: either political elite, or corporate oligarchs; and in both cases, money is what generates their power.

Our rulers are not the people we elect. Our ruler is capitalism.

Smart rulers know that they will remain in power only as long as they don’t abuse their subjects enough to spur revolution. And let’s face it, Corporate America skates dangerously close to that line. But Martin Shkreli skated right over it. He saw a drug that could save people’s lives, priced it out of reach for most, then thumbed his nose at our suffering with a shit-eating grin.

The system of power torpedoed him, so that we, the ruled, could go to sleep at night confident in the delusion that abusers of power are not immune to justice.


I don’t give a rat why he was arrested. He deserves to be beaten to death.


Horse manure. They’ve been investigating him for years. Anyone who has ever dealt with Federal authorities knows they won’t act unless they think they have so much evidence they practically have a lock on a conviction. The Feebies have been on his trail for a long time. Any claims that they moved now because he did something shameful is ignorant nonsense of the most odorous kind.


Shkreli isn’t a pharma exec gone rogue. He’s just an old fashioned trader who stumbled on a set of laws and regulations that make it particularly easy to corner a particular market. Real pharma companies may be unacceptably greedy, but they at least manufacture drugs and work to develop new drugs. All Shkreli does is buy distribution rights for other companies’ drugs, then use the orphan drug rules to lock others out from competing with him when he raises the price.

Shkreli would have us all believe that he is a Randian martyr. But his arrest has nothing to do with his latest orphan drug shenanigans. He’s just a particularly narcissistic and amoral Ponzi schemer, one of many, many Ponzi schemers to get busted over the last few years.


Just goes to show, don’t be a dick.

Again, that is not the whole story, and you are buying into what amounts to a lie by omission.

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here’s for hoping this can set a useful precedent, though, at least

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