Martin Shkreli, the pharma CEO notorious for jacking up the price of an AIDs drug from $13.50 per pill to $750, was arrested on Thursday for fraud charges.
The CEO, after recently purchasing an unreleased album by the Wu-Tang Clan, was arrested on seven charges of fraud unrelated to the pricing hikes by his current company, Turing Pharmaceuticals. Instead, these charges came after Shkreli, along with some colleagues, orchestrated a series of fraud schemes at his previous company, Retrophin.
Shkreli allegedly encouraged investors to sink money into different accounts with Retrophin and tampered with the company’s assets in order to pay Shkreli’s own personal debts.
This recent turn of events does no favors to the image of corporate America, which is already under a constant barrage of scrutiny for greed. The last thing corporate America needs is a CEO who was already notorious for jacking up the price of a 65-year-old pill called Daraprim, which treats a parasitic infection that mostly affects pregnant women as well as AIDs and cancer patients; especially after he attempted to make the “business is a business” argument, saying:
“No one wants to say it, no one’s proud of it, but this is a capitalist society, a capitalist system and capitalist rules, [. . .] and my investors expect me to maximize profits, not to minimize them or go half or go 70 percent but to go to 100 percent of the profit curve.”
Even Donald Trump, leading Republican candidate and eccentric billionaire, bashed Shkreli, calling him “a spoiled brat.” Other leading candidates weighted in as well, with Bernie Sanders returning a donation from the CEO, and Hilary Clinton calling the price hike “outrageous.”