A story in the LA Times today begins “Inmate No. 87850-053 has no internet service.”
A severe punishment indeed for anyone whose existence is centered around social media. Internet service is air to the particular inmate of whom they speak— smirking “Pharma Bro” 35 year old Martin Shkreli, ex-pharmaceutical CEO, and hedge fund con-man.
Shkreli, who purchased the rights to sell lifesaving aids drug, Daraprim, had a side job of conning investors with fake hedge fund deals. When his investors came after him for their money, Shkreli made a move that awarded him the prized title of **Most Reviled Man in America, raising the price of said lifesaving aids drug 5000% from $13.50 to $750.00 per pill in order to pay back the more disgruntled fools their money.
Odd and wrong that that anyone has the power to raise drug prices at whim, and can do so to such an extent. Shkreli isn’t the first pharma CEO to raise the price of a lifesaving drug. You might remember Mylan Pharmaceutical CEO Heather Bresch raised the price of the épi-pen 400%.
Why isn’t pricing drugs artificially high a crime in itself? To answer my own question, congress accepts money in the form of “campaign donations” from lobbyists employed by these pharmaceutical companies. Congress in turn allows pharmaceutical companies to price drugs as they like. It paints an ugly picture of those elected officials, and shows their loyalties do not lie with their constituents, but with whom ever offers up the biggest bribe.
This is, in large part, what is wrong with the American healthcare system. Take the CEO’s out of the equation, put caps on profits, in fact make healthcare a non profit enterprise. Without the middleman universal healthcare becomes an affordable endeavor. Medicare would thrive without CEO’s like Shkreli and Bresch overcharging by billions of dollars annually… but that’s another post.
Shkreli had been released on $5 million bond after his conviction of securities fraud for which he could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. He had been released and was awaiting his sentencing date of January 16, 2018.
Shortly after his securities fraud conviction, when he was free on bond, Shkreli livestreamed on Facebook, bragging that he’d never see the inside of a prison, but on the outside chance that he did have to do some time, he said— “it would be just a few months at a minimum-security Club Fed. I’ll play basketball and tennis and Xbox and be out on these streets in four months,”
So why is the smirky guy in jail?
Despite his lawyers advice keep his social media activity on the down low, the jackass could not help himself. He enjoys a huge following, because he seems to have no filter, but has since been kicked off twitter for trolling female reporters who were covering his trial.
His bail was revoked however because he recently used Facebook to put out a bounty on Hillary Clinton, offering to “pay $5,000 per hair” to anyone who secured the strands “with follicle” while she is on her book tour.
I think he might be disappointed with his new accommodations. Metropolitan Detention Center is a fortress-like federal prison known for beatings, sexual assaults, a lack of fresh air and sunlight, and sorry Martin, but they offer no outdoor activities… and no Xbox. His housing buddies number 1,800, none of whom currently play tennis or basketball.
A while back, when asked, hypothetically, if he would turn to books for his recreational pleasure if he were to be forced to serve any prison time, Shkreli said he doesn’t read fiction, but might consider reading some philosophy.
Does MDC even have a library? If so, will the musings of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle inspire Martin to recreate himself as a thoughtful, ethical, and self aware human being? We can only hope he uses his time, at least four months, well… and let’s also hope he doesn’t drop his soap in the shower.
**Trump has since reclaimed the title of Most Reviled Man in America.