A couple of days ago, I had the immense privilege and pleasure to have a face-to-face discussion with Mr. Martin Shkreli, one of my absolute idols and inspiration in life. The man was just as amazing as I thought it would. Luckily, someone managed to record the interaction:
I want to say I have nothing but good things to say after my recent interaction with Martin Shkreli. He is truly a gentleman and a scholar.
I’ve admired Martin Shkreli ever since he became a public figure after announcing he was raising the price of a medication from $13.50 to $750.
My reaction: where’s the problem?
Martin Shkreli is in the business of making money, not pandering to the ideals of far-left leaning liberals who think making money is the pinnacle of evil.
Listen: he bought the rights to that medication. He has the right to raise to price to whatever he wants. He can make it $50,000 a pill for all he wants. I truly do not see the problem with raising the price of someone he owns and purchased legally.
I just don’t get why people are so outraged when a guy announces a massive price hike for medication. Hundreds of pharmas have been doing this for decades and nobody gave a damn. Just look at Valeant for instance:
A big pharma (well, at least it was a big pharma back then) hikes a medication price by 2,288% and no one blinks an eye. A guy does the same thing and somehow it’s the end of the world?
I’m no pharma expert (he is), but this is how I see how the pharmaceutical system works: pharmas purchase rights to long-existing medication. They massively hike the prices. It’s okay because insurers pay for it and then hike the premiums to compensate. Pharmas make more money, investors make more money, researchers make more money (more cash flow to finance research) and insurers also make money (because you can be sure they are going to increase the premiums far more than what it really cost them and then use the increased cost of medication as a justification). The only losers here were the consumers. But so what? Consumers are always the losers.
There’s one and only one grocery store in my town. Here’s how they do their stuff: they control pretty much every building larger than 5,000 square feet in my city. Without a commercial building of at least 5,000 square feet, nobody can open a competing store. To make sure that no large commercial land is available, they put huge pressure on the mayor not to change zoning rights. Land can either be classified as “residential,” “commercial” or “industrial.” Only commercial land can be used to build a grocery store and you can bet they don’t allow any large parcel of land to become “commercial.” And as soon as a new large commercial building becomes available, which happens at most every 5 years, they buy it no matter the price. So for years, they’ve had the only large grocery store in a 25 kilometers radius.
In other words, they have an almost absolute monopoly. And for years and years, they’ve been hiking their prices and nobody says a word. This means that if you need to buy groceries, you have to do either of the following:
- Buy at the over-inflated store
- Drive around 50 different stores and spend five hours doing what you could do in 1.
- Drive to another city and waste in gas and time what you are going to save at the grocery store.
A can of soup that used to be $0.99 is now $3.29. I’m not joking. I thought they were exaggerating at $1.99, I thought they were insane at $2.29 and I thought they were done at $2.99, but no. That can of soup is still at $0.99 at a discount store and as low as 2 for $1 during a sale. I’m not joking: a pack of yoghurt that is frequently $3.99 and even lower at other large chains is never under $8.99 at that store.
Is there some kind of campaign to denounce that and tell how evil those owners are? Are people outraged at the price gouging. Of course not. No one cares. Companies are in the business of making money, not making you save money. Only competition keeps them in check.
But that’s the thing: pharmas have patents and they have no competition!
Then perhaps change the system. Stop blaming the players and change the rules of the game.
Look, guys: you can’t blame someone for playing by the rules. If I use the en passant rule to win a game of chess against you, you can’t go ahead and pretend the “en passant” rule was unfair. Martin Shkreli followed all the rules. He did nothing wrong.
People hate him because, to quote Martin himself, he was “flamboyant.” But so what? He has the right to be as meek or as flamboyant as he wants to. Being very public about what you do is not a crime.
If anything, Martin Shkreli did the world a favor by exposing how disgusting that practice was
Ever since he came out with his massive price hike, there has been a Congressional hearing on old medication getting massive price increases and, for once, there might be some real change in the industry. This means that massive price spikes on old medication might come to an end, or at least be severely limited. Yes, by doing what he did, Martin might have changed the entire industry. Tell me again how Martin Shkreli is evil?
Martin Shkreli doesn’t need me writing an article to defend him. But I’m tired of people ganging up on him like he’s the absolute evil. In fact, I say precisely that during our talk. I think it’s gross that people attack him for doing what he did when they are perfectly okay with thousands of businessmen doing the exact same thing. Is it unethical to do what Mr. Shkreli did? Perhaps, but it’s not illegal. I went to a pharmacy near me and the pharmacist started talking about the $75,000 a pill drug. If you have Hepatis C, you pretty much need this pill or you die. Somehow, nobody talks about that.
In any event, I plain and simply do not understand why people do not like him. I absolutely adore him. He took thirty minutes to help me and I greatly appreciate that. Yes, he did call me a faggot afterwards, but if I stopped talking to everyone who’s called me a faggot at some point, I would only talk to my computer. And then again, maybe not even to my computer.
Speaking of being a faggot, Mr. Shkreli, if you’re reading this… Lauren Duca doesn’t know how lucky she is.