Pharma-dude who ‘ripped off’ HIV patients resigns as CEO after fraud arrest
The CEO who raised the price of an HIV drug by 5500% has quit – after he was arrested for fraud.
Turing Pharmaceuticals founder Martin Shkreli came under fire after buying the rights to 62-year-old drug Daraprim, which is used to treat conditions including AIDS-related toxoplasmosis, and jacking up the price to $750 a pill.
However, karma bites – and Shkreli was arrested on Thursday by federal agents, over allegations of fraud at his now-defunct hedge fund MSMB Capital Management.
Shkreli denies all wrongdoing – but despite protesting his innocence, the millionaire has stepped away from Turing Pharmaceuticals.
The company confirmed “the resignation of Martin Shkreli from the position of Chief Executive Officer and the appointment of [Board chair] Ron Tilles to the position of Interim Chief Executive Officer”.
Mr Tilles said in a statement: “We wish to thank Martin for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors.
“At the same time, I am very excited about the opportunity to guide Turing Pharmaceuticals forward.
“We remain committed to ensuring that all patients have ready and affordable access to Daraprim and Vecamyl. Research Development on new medications continues to be a priority for the company.
“With the dynamic leadership of Eliseo Salinas as head of Research and Development and Nancy Retzlaff as head of Commercial Operations, Turing Pharmaceuticals is poised for great success in the coming years.”
Olivia Alair Dalton of the Human Rights Campaign said: “We hope that Martin Shkreli’s departure will mark the end of Turing Pharmaceuticals’ reckless price hikes on life-saving medications.
“Turing’s interim CEO Ron Tilles should immediately roll back the company’s unconscionable 5,000 percent price hike on Daraprim, a crucial treatment for many pregnant women and people living with HIV, and restore the drug to its original cost.”