It turns out that Martin Shkreli can deliver a sober, straightforward compliment in response to a group of critics, without any ranting or the kind of loopy barbs so often on display during his trademark trolling on Twitter.
Earlier this week some high school students in Australia attracted global headlines when they made Daraprim — an old drug that Shkreli’s Turing acquired and then jacked the price of by 5,000%-plus — for $2 a dose. Turing’s price: $750.
Alice Williamson, a postdoc at the University of Sydney, thought that if a group of high school students got together and made this drug for next to nothing, it would illustrate just how unscrupulous Shkreli was in gouging patients.
“I said ‘Why don’t we get students to make Daraprim in the lab’, because to me the route looked pretty simple,” she told The Guardian. “I thought if we could show that students could make it in the lab with no real training, we could really show how ridiculous this price hike was and that there was no way it could be justified.”
High profile blogger Derek Lowe has already offered a commonsense response, noting that there’s a lot that goes into making a marketed drug that is easy to overlook when students are formulating something in the lab. But, it is interesting to note that Shkreli, who was forced to exit the CEO’s job at Turing, was happy to take to YouTube and cite the students’ success — as well as some updates on his own research — without attacking anyone.
“Technology has lowered the costs of a myriad of goods and services dramatically,” he said in his statement, reading prepared remarks. “We should congratulate these students for their interest in chemistry and I’ll be excited about what is to come in this stem focused 21st century.”
No reference to morons or any other favorite putdowns on display as he clashed with politicians and journalists or his multitude of online critics over the past year.
The young Shkreli is slated to go on trial next summer on fraud charges completely unrelated to the price of Daraprim. And he managed to make it through at least one day limiting himself to a carefully crafted compliment.
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