The perfect villain
Think for a moment about your classic hollywood villains: sinister, serious, extravagant displays of wealth, and typically a plan to devastate the world in some way. This sounds a lot like someone who has been all over the news since last year, Martin Shkreli. This young hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical CEO really is the perfect villain. He seems like someone straight out of a james bond movie and that uniquely punchable face even shares a resemblance to a few of those villains.
For those of you that don’t own a TV or go on the internet or listen to the radio or communicate to the outside world in any way, Martin Shkreli gained notoriety last year after buying the rights to a life saving medication and boosting its price from around 13 dollars to 750 dollars PER PILL. This medication is called Daraprim, which treats a parasitic infection that is common in people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and the elderly. It is clearly the best drug to treat the infection — called toxoplasmosis — and the treatment course for this infection can often last up to a year. The new estimated price for a year long treatment of daraprim is estimated to cost $336,000 for patients under 132 pounds and $634,500 for those who weight more. Considering that this drug is mostly commonly used to treat patients with HIV, which is more widespread in low income areas, this creates a massive problem for patients. Doctors have been using this medication for almost 62 years because it is the obvious choice for someone suffering from toxoplasmosis and now suddenly they find they can’t prescribe it to many of their patients because of the cost. This problem is worsened by the fact that most poor families have high deductible healthcare plans meaning they must spend a large amount of money before the insurance will start to cover the costs of medication. As a result, many poor families will have to pay in full for daraprim if they have not yet reached their deductible threshold.
I looked into a few of his social media accounts to see how he likes to portray himself. He posts countless photos of himself with wines costing over $1,000 dollars a bottle, flying helicopters over manhattan, and lounging poolside in the hamptons, meanwhile his company is bankrupting underprivileged families. The worst part about this guy is that he does even think he is doing anything wrong. He views pharmaceuticals as a business and supports the decision he made, even stating, “I would have raised the price higher” when asked how he would handle the situation in hindsight. In this interview with forbes, he made it painfully clear that it’s his “duty” as CEO to maximize profits for his investors not to make patients better. After being grilled on his actions in a congressional hearing, he pledged to drop the price of Daraprim and eventually he backed out of that promise because companies were “begging for his business” only adding to his reputation of being “the most hated man in America”
If you feel that you want to punch this guy in the face, you’re not alone. Shkreli auctioned off a chance to punch him in the face earlier this week and the final offer landed at $50,000. This may be the most expensive, yet satisfying punch ever thrown.