Up until a couple of weeks ago, if anyone went after Martin Shkreli, the price gouging ex-CEO of Turing (and Retrophin before that), he would immediately take to Twitter to fire off his profanity-laced counterattacks. But then the former biotech exec, awaiting trial on fraud charges this summer, was banned from Twitter for a series of creepy tweets about his “love” for Lauren Duca, a Trump critic who had spurred his instant-ire persona into action.
But no one banned Martin “The Most Hated Man in the World” Shkreli from the Internet and YouTube.
So when PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl mocked him on CNBC today, saying that we were in need of fewer hoodies — what Shkreli wore for his perp walk a few months back — and more lab coats, he whipped up an instant web site at pharmaskeletons.com and then narrated his blowback on YouTube.
“Steve, what I wanted to tell you, as CEO of PhRMA, you are a Washington lobbyist piece of s@$t,” said Shkreli. “You have done nothing for pharma. You’re not an evangelist. You don’t know anything about pharmaceuticals. We need to drain the swamp of idiots like you…. I’ve done what it takes to build a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company…What the f!*ck do you think you know about pharmaceuticals?”
On the web site, Shkreli writes:
Turing is a small company researching drugs for rare diseases that no one else wants to. All of your member companies, with a few humorous exceptions, have billions of dollars and don’t need price increases. I’m sorry if my company’s and patients’ survival is inconvenient to your gigantic income streams.
Look in the mirror. This website took me half an hour to make, just ‘membering a few moments from the past. Pharma is a wonderful industry that does great things, but trying to throw me under the bus is foolish. Let me remind you 90% of your members’ CEOs could not hold a candle to me in scientific knowledge, achievements or wealth and entrepreneurial achievements.
And so on.
Ubl was on CNBC to tout the industry lobbying group’s plans for a major advertising campaign that aims to shore up public opinion at a time that the drug industry is stuck with one of the worst reputations of any industry shy of used car sales — and that’s a maybe. Trump’s recent tirade against pharma included the comment that drug companies have been “getting away with murder” on drug prices.
There’s no love lost between Shkreli and biopharma. BIO kicked Turing and Shkreli out of the organization after his 5000-plus% hike on the old generic Daraprim, which also earned a quick diatribe from the young pharma dude. (We’ve also had a few exchanges, in which Shkreli likes to tell me I’m a moron who can’t write. But then Shkreli gets along with few journalists.) He’s also not a big fan of most members of Congress, who recently spelled out the biotech exec’s plan to scam a quick billion off of the Daraprim play.
This time, Shkreli was so angry he went on a rant against a whole laundry list of PhRMA members for various infractions of one kind or another. Shkreli’s bottom line: Turing is just a small-time player compared to companies like Allergan, Pfizer, etc., etc.
The industry’s leaders would probably love to see Shkreli hauled in front of a judge and jury, though he’ll never face charges on price gouging. That’s legal in the US. And that’s also not in PhRMA’s narrative.
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