The Department of Health and Human Services has directed the FDA to consider the importation of foreign drugs to address price spikes. The proposed policy would only apply to drugs unaffected by patent or exclusivity, in an effort to avoid intellectual property issues. However, pharma companies may still have something to say through their lawyers if such a policy were to be implemented, especially as an act of a federal agency instead of legislation. If it were implemented though, it would avoid patient access issues in situations like when an HIV medication jumped in price from $13.50 to $750, which had the incredibly unfortunate side effect of catapulting Martin Shkreli’s infinitely punchable face into the limelight. That drug still costs $750 by the way. Or just 5-10 cents in India.
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has settled the “massive fraud” charges levied against her by the SEC. A little refresher, Theranos was that company that was going to revolutionize the world of laboratory blood testing and then didn’t deliver. That sent Forbes’ evaluation of her to plummet from ~$4.5B to ~$0.0B, and brought a lot of scrutiny from federal agencies, which eventually culminated in this deal. As part of the stipulations, Holmes can no longer run Theranos, nor be an officer or director of a public company for 10 years.
Shout out to fellow massive fraud Martin Shkreli who was sentenced to 7 years in prison last week. We didn’t feel like giving the jerk a full story, but you’ll be happy to know he cried at his sentencing.
In a turn of events that surprises approximately nobody, “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli has been sent to jail after his $5 million bail was revoked. Not content to just shut up for a bit while awaiting sentencing for his fraud conviction, Shkreli instead used Facebook to offer $5,000 for a strand of hair from Hilary Clinton. A federal judge found he presented a threat to the community due to this action, and everyone presumably nodded along vigorously, desperate for an excuse to finally throw him behind bars for good. To be hair fair, this isn’t the first time he’s advocated for assault on Facebook. Just last year he raffled off the chance to punch him in his smug face.
Have you ever looked at the online sex offender registry for your neighborhood? Not reassuring, right? Well, it looks like the state of California may soon have a similar system for drug makers. On Governor Jerry Brown’s desk is a law that would require drug manufacturers to give the state notice of price increases so that these can be posted on the internet. Even the slightest of cynics would wonder if this is being done simply to increase public (and media) pressure on a drug company that might otherwise be tempted to act like a total Shkreli. While this seems like a slam dunk for a left-leaning state like California, recall the ballot initiative that failed last November that would have capped the cost of certain drugs at the price paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Strange days.
Three out of eight ain’t bad, as Meatloaf almost said. Last week Martin Shkreli was convicted of three criminal charges—including securities fraud—and acquitted of another five. Do not confuse these crimes with the stunt he pulled as CEO of Turing Pharmaceutical when he raised the price of a pill from $13.50 to $750. For that, he was only convicted of being a giant [insert inappropriate word here]. No, these were actual crimes. According to Shkreli, “This was a witch hunt of epic proportions and maybe they found one or two broomsticks but at the end of the day we’ve been acquitted of the most important charges in this case.” His sentence will probably be light because, lucky for Shkreli, being a tool isn’t against the law. It’s just frowned upon.