Infamous ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli is once again in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission, which announced today that the convicted fraudster failed to cooperate with the commission’s investigation into whether he violated his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry by starting a company last year called “Druglike, Inc.”
In a filing today, the FTC asked a federal judge in New York to find Shkreli in contempt for failing to deliver requested documents to the FTC and failing to make himself available for an interview. Under the 2022 court order banning him for life from involvement in the pharmaceutical industry, Shkreli is required to provide this information to the FTC, the commission noted.
“Martin Shkreli’s failure to comply with the court order demonstrates a clear disregard for the law,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Competition Bureau, said in a press release. “The FTC will not hesitate to deploy the full extent of its powers to enable a thorough investigation of any potential wrongdoing.”
At the center of the dispute is whether Shkreli’s co-founding of Druglike goes against his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, which was in response to Shkreli’s infamous decision to raise the price of the drug. cheap and life-saving pest control, Daraprim. , from $17.50 a pill to $750 a pill in 2015. In the January 2022 court ruling banning it from the industry, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote wrote:
Banning an individual from an entire industry and limiting his future ability to earn a living in that field is serious remedy and should be done with care and only if fairness demands it. Shkreli’s flagrant, deliberate, repetitive, long-lasting and ultimately dangerous illegal conduct warrants the imposition of an injunction of this scope.
The injunction prevents Shkreli from “participating in the pharmaceutical industry in any capacity.”
Yet Shkreli’s new company appears squarely in the realm of the pharmaceutical industry. In a press release last year, the company said it would “revolutionize” early-stage drug discovery with a decentralized computing network “enabled by Web3 technology.” Overall, the company’s web-based suite was touted as enabling drug developers to perform the development tasks of “identifying targets, designing drugs, and designing tools for building and running drugs.” large-scale virtual screening workflows”.
Shkreli is quoted in the press release as saying that users “could be held accountable and rewarded for discovering the next breakthrough drug” and that the technology will “disrupt the economics of the drug trade” and compete with “pharma giants”.
The FTC said in its announcement today that it initially sought information about the new company and its compliance with its lifetime ban in October, but that Shkreli ignored “repeated requests” from the agency. In addition to asking the court to find Shkreli in contempt, the FTC also asked that Shkreli be ordered to comply with the FTC’s investigation within 21 days of the court’s decision.
The FTC also noted in its court filing that Shkreli has so far failed to pay the $64.6 million opt-out he was ordered to pay alongside his lifetime ban.
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