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Health and Medicine

"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli Has Been Released From Prison

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockMay 19 2022, 15:14 UTC
Shkreli.

The "Pharma Bro" is back! Martin Shkreli leaves federal court on June 29, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. Image credit: JStone/Shutterstock.com

Martin Shkreli, the “Pharma Bro” who infamously increased the price of a life-saving drug for AIDS patients by 5,000 percent, has been let out of prison after serving his sentence for securities fraud. 

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The news broke after Edmund Sullivan tweeted a photo of a pleased-looking Shkreli wearing a grey prison uniform in the backseat of his car, saying: “Picked up this guy hitchhiking. Says he’s famous.”

Shkreli, who is banned from Twitter for alledged harassment, later posted a selfie on Facebook with the caption: “Getting out of real prison is easier than getting out of Twitter prison.”

He is reportedly being moved to a halfway house and is set to be released from community confinement on September 14, 2022. The 39-year-old was set to serve a seven-year sentence but was let out after just over four years due to credit received for good behavior.

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The story of Martin Shkreli is a tale of our times. The so-called "Pharma Bro" first came to public attention in 2015 after his pharmaceutical company bought the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim, used by some people with HIV/AIDS, and hiked its price from US$13.50 per pill to $750. 

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Shkreli quickly became a symbol of corporate greed and earnt the title of “the most hated man in America.” Wholly unphased by this bad reputation, Shkreli appeared to revel in the public limelight, using his newfound fame to wrack up a substantial following on social media and utilized his platform to broadcast a number of infuriating antics. 

In 2015, he bought the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million, making it the most expensive work of music ever sold. After promising to release the album free if Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election, Shkreli streamed portions of the album online to his band of followers.

By the end of 2015, Shrekli was arrested on charges of securities fraud. While awaiting sentencing for the fraud conviction, Shkreli was freed from jail on $5 million bail. However, his bail was revoked in 2017 after he made two social media posts offering $5,000 cash to anyone who could get him a strand of hair from Hillary Clinton. In a since-deleted Facebook post, he joked that he wanted to clone her and needed the strands to "confirm the sequences" he already possessed. A judge ruled that this was effectively solicitation to assault in exchange for money.

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In 2018, Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for two counts of securities fraud and one count of securities fraud conspiracy on charges that he tricked investors into giving millions to his company.

Following the conviction, a federal court seized $7.36 million worth of assets belonging to Shrekli, including his one-of-a-kind copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

Now, Shkreli is back on the streets again. However, it's not certain what his next moves will be. Early this year, a federal judge banned him for life from the pharmaceutical industry and ordered him to pay $64.6 million in profits he earned from raising the price of the drug Daraprim.


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