The Federal Trade Commission on Friday called for a federal court to hold “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli in contempt after Shkreli allegedly flouted a recent FTC investigation into his business dealings and failed to make a $64.6 million payment he owed for his prior wrongdoings.
The FTC’s contempt motion follows what the agency described as its an unsuccessful attempt to verify whether Shkreli has violated a court order barring him from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again.
Brianne Murphy, an attorney for Shkreli, called the issue with the FTC a misunderstanding that “can get resolved relatively quickly once we get additional information and context to them.” Murphy added that Shkreli’s new business does not run afoul of the court order because the new company “is a software company, rather than a drug company.”
Shkreli was released from federal prison last year after serving a shortened sentence. He was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 for mismanaging two investments funds.
Shkreli also infamously raised prices for the life-saving medication Daraprim by 4,000% while he was head of Turing Pharmaceuticals. His conduct earned him the title of “most hated man in America” by multiple publications. More recently, he was the subject a 134-page ruling in 2022 by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York that banned him for life from participating in the pharmaceutical industry, as part of a separate FTC antitrust case against him.
That legally binding order triggered a new investigation into Shkreli’s activities in October, when public reports indicated he had co-founded a new “Web3 drug discovery software platform” known as Druglike, Inc.
When the FTC emailed Shkreli to get documents from him and to schedule an interview about the matter, Shkreli repeatedly missed deadlines and allegedly slow-walked his responses, according to an FTC court filing Friday.
“Shkreli has not attempted—much less ‘diligently,’ as Second Circuit law requires—to comply with the Order in a reasonable manner,” the filing said.
The FTC also said Shkreli had been ordered to make his multimillion-dollar payment — representing a refund of his ill-gotten Daraprim gains — by March 6, 2022. But in fact, the FTC said, “to date he has paid nothing toward the judgment, and has made no efforts to comply with this provision of the Order.”
As far as his involvement with Druglike, the FTC added: “Shkreli’s noncompliance is also clear and unambiguous: Shkreli has not submitted a supplemental Compliance Report, provided access to relevant documents, or made himself available for an interview.”