Martin Shkreli: I’m not in contempt over drug industry ban

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Martin Shkreli on Friday urged a U.S. judge not to hold him in civil contempt for failing to provide federal and state regulators with information to determine whether he is violating a lifetime ban from working in the pharmaceutical industry.

In a filing in Manhattan federal court, Shkreli said he has complied with the February 2022 ban “as extensively as possible and in good faith,” and has provided the materials sought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and seven states.

The ban also included a $64.6 million civil fine, which Shkreli said he is “so far unable” to pay. He said he intended to comply fully with the ban and provide requested information.

Spokespeople for the FTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The FTC had accused Shkreli last month of failing to provide information about Druglike Inc, a company it said he formed last July.

In Friday’s filing, Shkreli said he never had an ownership stake or executive role at Druglike, which he believed has been dissolved, and that he hoped to raise money for its successor DL Software, which he co-founded.

He also said Druglike and DL Software were “software companies creating professional software for chemists and physicists,” and thus outside his pharmaceutical industry ban.

Shkreli became known as “pharma bro” after raising the price of the anti-parisitic drug Daraprim to $750 per tablet from $17.50 in 2015, and appearing unapologetic when criticized.

The lifetime ban related to Shkreli’s efforts to keep generic versions of Daraprim off the market.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who imposed the ban and $64.6 million penalty, will decide the FTC contempt motion. The states joining the motion are New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted in 2017 of defrauding investors in two hedge funds he ran, and scheming to defraud investors in the drugmaker Retrophin Inc. He was released early from prison last May.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

tagreuters.com2023binary_LYNXMPEJ1910V-VIEWIMAGE