Everyone's least favorite hedge fund manager turned pharma CEO Martin Shkreli attended the big Forbes Healthcare event in New York City today, affording him the chance to parlay his recent infamy into a chance to rub shoulders with the big dogs in big pharma.
Because Martin is pretty much the most famous d-bag in the pharma game these days, Forbes even gave him an on-stage interview, a literal platform from which to prove that he is not the immature evil clown the press has mad him out to be.
Here's a taste - from Forbes - of how well that went...
Shkreli spoke at the Forbes Healthcare Summit during a 25-minute interview that was at turns fascinating, horrifying, and utterly compelling.
So, having Martin Shkreli at your healthcare summit is like inviting your charming psychopath neighbor to your dinner party? Pray tell.
How did he comport himself at this grownup corporate event?
Well sartorial churlishness - and the dope-ass 90s bowl cut - aside what did he, like, say?
For instance, did anybody ask the Turing Pharamceutical CEO how he felt about his wildly controversial decision to hike the cost of lifesaving drug Deraprim by 5,000% and then lied about his intention to lower it? Like what is his 20/20 hindsight in that area?
“I would have raised prices higher,” Shkreli vowed on Thursday, after being asked how he would re-do the past three months. “That’s my duty.”
Forbes did not disclose how many spit-takes were elicited from the crowd.
And then Martin elaborated:
“I think healthcare prices are inelastic. I could have raised [the price of Deraprim] higher for my shareholders, which is my primary duty. Again - no one wants to say it, no one's proud of it - but this is a capitalist society, capitalist system with capitalist rules, and my shareholders expect me to maximize profits. Not minimize them, or go half, or go 70%, but to go to 100% of the profit curve that we’re all taught in MBA class.”
While there is a lot to unpack from that, we're going to take the easy route and giggle at the "MBA class" part because its a funny malapropism... and also because Martin Shkreli doesn't have an MBA so it's a malapropism with no basis in fact.
We'll also dive a bit into the "no one wants to say it, no one's proud of it" part because - according to BI - executives from Celgene, Pfizer, Regeneron and GlaxoSmithKline were in the audience and they were very ready to talk about how very not proud they are of Martin Shkreli...
Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline described Turing's move as "disturbing," saying that its sucking up resources that should be used on more innovative, new medications.
See, Forbes? Psychopath at the dinner party...
“We do some pretty crappy things,” Regeneron CEO Leonard S. Schleifer admitted. Still, “he’s not in the same business as we are.
To wit, "Pharamaceutical executives do terrible sh!t to people all the time, but this Shkreli guy?... TOTAL f@cking a$$hole."
But Shkreli also had to contend with some other fellow pharma workers. Answering a question about his falling out with ExpressScripts, which decided to distance itself from Turing and Deraprim by ending their relationship entirely.
Herper pushed Shkreli on whether his actions and outspoken nature had cost his company business. Express Scripts recently dropped Daraprim from its formulary in favor of a competitor, for instance.
But Shkreli didn’t think so. “Hasn’t hurt us one bit,” he said, suggesting that Turing is working on a deal with a major pharmaceutical company to acquire a new drug.
And although the company eventually went with Turing’s competitor, “Express Scripts emailed me the other day, begging for our business,” Shkreli added.
(An Express Scripts executive in the crowd disagreed with Shkreli’s recounting of events.)
And therein lies Martin Shkreli's biggest problem; When he talks, people can hear him.