There is arguably no pharmaceutical company CEO more notoriously corrupt – publicly, at least – than Martin Shkreli, the former head of drug maker Turing Pharmaceuticals who once famously raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000%.
Because this industry villain was young and arrogant, the media dubbed him ‘Pharma Bro’ and nobody cried when he got nabbed for financial crimes related to a separate business venture – nobody besides the Pharma Bro, that is, who broke down in front of a judge as he handed down a seven year prison sentence.
But did anyone really expect redemption from Martin Shkreli? Probably not, and if a new report from Forbes is on target, then we weren’t wrong for expecting the worst.
Forbes says Shkreli has been placed in solitary confinement for violating a very clear prison rule, which is – don’t try to still run your company from the inside, using a contraband cell phone.
The company Shkreli is accused of running is none other than Turing Pharma, which has now been re-branded under the name Phoenixus AG. The Wall Street Journal had previously revealed that Shkreli was reportedly exercising “shadow power” over the company, of which he still owns about 40 percent – even to the point where he fired the company’s interim CEO over the phone. He is said to be spending his time in lockup poring over pharmaceutical research in an effort to identify and acquire rare drugs in development. WSJ cites an unnamed source as saying the company could be worth $3.7 billion by the time he is due to be released.
Phoenixus board member Akeel Mithani has denied this is taking place, though a follow-up report by Gizmodo reminded us all that Shkreli actually told Gizmodo that he planned to “make paper from the inside.” Because this guy can’t shut up to save his life.
But the Wall Street Journal has stressed that, outside of his prison time, Shkreli isn’t actually done being punished for his financial crimes: he owes several million more to the feds than he has, and is facing a separate civil suit. So, depending on when he gets out of the shoe, he can try to make more paper, but it might never line his own pockets.