While Big Pharma companies like J+J and Moderna are constantly being praised for their Covid-19 jabs, at least in the MSM, Martin Shkreli, the near-universally hated “Pharma Bro” just received quite a stiff ruling in an anti-trust suit.
Additionally, writing about the specifics of the Daraprim scheme, Judge Cote said:
“The Daraprim scheme was particularly heartless and coercive. Daraprim must be administered within hours to those suffering from active toxoplasma encephalitis.”
Then, continuing on that line of thought and describing the predatory, monopolistic intent behind Shkreli’s actions, Judge Cote said:
“From day one, Shkreli focused his new venture on acquiring sole-source drugs that were the gold standard treatment option for life-threatening diseases with a small patient population and inferior alternative treatments, with the intent to raise their prices, block generic competition, and reap extraordinary profits.“
Similarly, at one point, Cote adds that “Shkreli established two companies, Retrophin and Vyera, with the same anticompetitive business model: Acquiring sole-source drugs for rare diseases so that he could profit from a monopolist scheme on the backs of a dependent population of pharmaceutical distributors, healthcare providers, and the patients who needed the drugs.”
Additionally, to show just how unrepentant Shkreli was (and is), likely as a way to defend her quite harsh ruling, Cote emphasized that he’s never even shown that he recognizes that his actions were wrong, saying:
“Moreover, in the face of public opprobrium, Shkreli doubled down. He refused to change course and proclaimed that he should have raised Daraprim’s price higher.”
“Shkreli has not expressed remorse or any awareness that his actions violated the law. While he takes full responsibility … for the increase of Daraprim’s price from $17.50 to $750 per pill, he denies responsibility for virtually anything else.”
Still, despite Shkreli’s reprehensible, monopolistic actions, Cote’s ruling is particularly severe and might show a shift in mindset among the judges tasked with bringing monopolists to heel. As Matt Stoller described it in his Substack newsletter:
More than the obnoxiousness of the villain, the precedent here matters. It’s rare for an individual to be found liable for monopolization, so this decision means that judges are getting more comfortable seeing antitrust violations as immoral behavior, instead of seeing the problem as well-meaning businessmen being a bit too zealous.
We’ll see if the same line of thought is applied to similarly obnoxious Big Tech monopolists.