Martin Shkreli: America’s New Anti Hero
September 29, 2015
American’s are huge bandwagoners, able to turn social opinion and make their victims beg for mercy.
Unfortunately for Martin Shkreli and his wallet, but fortunately for users of the drug Daraprim, he landed in the crosshairs of social media.
By now, we all know about Martin Shkreli, aka. “The Pharma Bro”, and his plans for profiteering on the antimalarial drug, Daraprim.
The unlovable, irredeemable antagonist of the evil plot to cash in on terminally illpatients, raised the price of the life saving drug by 5,000 percent and threw out the same blanketed response that all greedy CEOs do when confronted: the price gouge was to cover research and development. He said the higher pricing was to make Daraprim better–even though Daraprim is effective at its low price.
Shkreli finally caved due to the hate and pressure he received from lynch-mob forming social-media outlets. But what he did was important.
He is the hero anyone paying ridiculous prices for life saving medication needs. Without this catalyst, without him drawing attention to the unregulated price gouging of Big Pharma, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Shkreli Got America Talking Again
He highlighted a big problem in America. That problem is the unregulated profiteering by our pharmaceutical companies.
Now, the public lynch mob has a person to crucify. Shkreli’s blood will be spilled to potentially save future victims of pharmaceutical profiteering.
The problem is not just with Martin Shkreli. Big Pharmaceutical companies have been price gouging for years and it’s been swept under to rug by our politicians– whose reelection hinges on being bankrolled by the industry, not to mention personal profits they may reap.
Billions of dollars a year are being put in the coffers of drug companies who prey on terminally ill people. They turn innovations and life saving medications into profits that they can stuff into their pockets.
Our law protects pharmaceutical companies from free-market competition meaning they can put a whatever price they want on their drugs and insurance companies can’t negotiate.
This As-Is law makes it impossible for Medicare (or other insurance companies) to negotiate on behalf of the patient or based on the benefit the drug provides.
They scream Research and Development (R&D) eats up most of the money any time they are questioned about their high prices and high margins. But overseas, people are paying 40% less for their drugs than Americans.
In other countries they set price caps, reducing margins and enabling negotiations based on the benefit of the drug.
Drug companies explain that other countries are fee riding and they have to basically tax Americans to make up for it.
Some specialists argue that this is not the case and that the real cost of getting a drug to market is less than $60 million— where Big Pharma says it has to pay $1.2 billion to launch a new drug.
Blemishing the Healthcare Industry
Trust is hard to come by today, especially when it comes to money. The anxiety that people are being taken advantage of by the pharmaceutical industry only gets heightened when stories like Shkreli’s hit the public.
Many people don’t know who to blame, so they blame the closest variable they think is related and that usually falls on their doctor.
Some people don’t know the difference between group drug companies and their care centers together, but the two are separate and have different aims. Pharmaceutical companies are for-profit corporations, looking to leverage their products for the greatest possible return.
However, while medical facilities have similar interests in staying economically viable, the majority are more concerned with patient care, especially the physicians themselves.
Finally, people can see that it’s not the men and women in the white coats with medical licenses pulling the strings, but the comb overs in suits watching the stock ticker.
Lawmakers Open to Change
Finally, lawmakers are jumping on this issue to bolster their poll ratings. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are talking about changing how the system works (maybe only to entice voters to cast their ballots for them—but at least it’s on the table). It is a topic that presidential front runners will want to revise to put them in good standing with the public.
Hillary Clinton just tanked the Pharmaceutical Hedge Funds as investors are pulling out due to Clinton’s comments on how she wants to regulate the industry. Big money investors see that they can’t get away with ways of old, so they are taking their money elsewhere.
It’s time for a change and finally enough people notice for change to happen.
Shkreli isn’t a good person, but he is a hero. He is a hero for the men and women he tried to exploit.
His greedy move put Big Pharma in the limelight and made enough people mad to enact change. His love for money got the ball rolling on a conversation America has needed for a long time.
Thanks, Shkreli, for showing us what Big Pharma is about so we can take up our vocal weapons to question an establishment that has been exploiting us for too long.
Too bad for pharmaceutical companies, their little bro just got them busted.
Tell us what you think in the comments below? Do you think Shrekli being put under the media microscope was a good or bad thing for the industry?