The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Pharma offender product of industry’s economic greed

By Dylan Leverett/reporter

Recently, Martin Shkreli refused to testify before a congressional committee investigating the rise in pharmaceutical prices. 

The media-coined “bad boy of pharma” instead repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself, citing an ongoing investigation of securities fraud charges.

Then being the picture of decorum that he is, Shkreli smirked his way through the committee questioning and then took to Twitter (who’s following this guy?) to say, “Hard to accept these imbeciles represent the people in our government.”

For those unfamiliar with Shkreli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals came to national attention after his company acquired the patent rights to Daraprim, an anti-parasitic drug used to treat toxoplasmosis in HIV patients and pregnant women, and then raised the price from $13.50 per pill to $750. After the inevitable public outcry, he still refused to lower the price.

And, while not necessarily as terrible but more bizarrely supervillain-like, Shkreli was also the winning bidder on a $2 million copy, and the only in existence, of the Wu-Tang Clan’s unreleased album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which he asserts to never release to the public.

This understandably was upsetting for Ghostface Killah, a Wu-Tang member and legendary rapper in his own right, who called out Shkreli by calling him a “s—head” and “crazy.”

Shkreli then fired back with insults to Ghostface’s musicianship on the aforementioned album but also increased the odd beef by sending him a bizarre video in which Shkreli, like a true supervillain, is surrounded by masked “goons” and threatens to destroy the priceless album. The former pharmaceutical CEO and the rapper have thus far gone back and forth with similarly odd interactions.

Luckily, soon after being charged with securities fraud, Shkreli stepped down from Turing, but sadly he still continues to do strange and infuriating things like refusing to respond to the committee pleading with him to use what power he has to do good in the pharmaceutical world.

Although it is incredibly easy to hate the embodiment of greed and capitalism-gone-wrong that is Martin Shkreli, it is important to keep in mind that the pharmaceutical industry is the one that allowed him to operate and do the deplorable things that he’s done. And hopefully the bad attention Shkreli is receiving will force a spotlight on the pharmaceutical industry and create change for the better.

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