US Court Upholds Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli's Ban

    US Court Upholds Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli's Ban
    Photo: (2017) Drew Angerer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld Martin Shkreli's lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, ruling the former CEO of Vyera Pharmaceuticals had been rightly punished for antitrust violations.

    • Shkreli, who became famed for raising the price of the antiparasitic drug Daraprim from $17.50 per tablet to $750 overnight in 2015, served over four years in prison following his 2017 securities fraud conviction.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Having infamously raised the cost of a life-saving drug by about 5000%, this latest ruling is absolutely justified. Shkreli exemplifies the kind of greed and inhumanity that plagues the pharmaceutical industry and ultimately, comes to cost the taxpayer. This is a great example of a corporate executive being rightfully held accountable for anticompetitive conduct.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Criticism of Shkreli alone misses the egregious reality behind the decisions made at Vyera Pharmaceuticals. Emphasis on individual responsibility can only go so far — the American people should be looking more closely at the fact that anticompetitive and monopolizing moves were possible at all under the current system. At the very least, in a political landscape that rewards supposedly anti-establishment figures, Shkreli is candid in his motivation to exploit failures of the US medical industry.

    Anti-Trump narrative

    The federal appeals court in New York has made the right decision upholding Martin Shkreli's permanent ban from the pharmaceutical industry. However, the more interesting aspect of the decision is how it impacts Letitia James' case against Donald Trump. The Shkreli ban shows that serial criminals who defraud consumers and investors can be brought to justice — Trump certainly fits that criterion.

    Pro-Trump narrative

    While the courts can point to Martin Shkreli's infractions, it's ridiculous to imply that Donald Trump could be subjected to a similar ban from New York's real estate industry. Shkreli was a convicted criminal who served several years in prison; however, Trump's only crime is challenging the Democratic establishment. Letitia James is grasping at straws, and her arguments keep getting weaker.

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