Shkreli Sued By Blue Cross Minnesota, Alleging Price Gouging And Monopoly
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Blue Cross Minnesota Sues 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli For Alleged Market Monopoly
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota sued now-incarcerated Martin "Pharma Bro" Shkreli on Thursday, alleging the company intentionally monopolized the market and illegally jacked up the price of a "gold-standard" drug. The Eagan, Minn.-based insurer filed a proposed class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, saying Vyera Pharmaceutical and its parent company Phonexius strategically cornered the market to increase the price of Daraprim by more than 4,000%. Vyera Pharmaceutical, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, did not respond to an interview request. The suit also names Shkreli, Phoenxius and Phoenxius' ex-chairman Kevin Mulleady as defendants. Dr. Craig Samitt, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shie (Tepper, 3/5)
Becker's Hospital Review:
BCBS Of Minnesota Sues Vyera Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli, Claiming Illegal Drug Pricing
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota filed a class-action lawsuit against Vyera Pharmaceuticals — the rebranded company of Martin Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals — and its parent Phoenixus for allegedly illegally pricing its antimalarial medication. The complaint, filed March 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses Vyera of intentionally monopolizing the pharmaceutical market for its antimalarial drug Daraprim, only to increase prices by more than 4,000 percent. Daraprim is used to treat the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis, which can be deadly to those with HIV/AIDS, cancer or compromised immune systems, BCBS of Minnesota said. (Haefner, 3/5)
New York Post:
Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Hit With Class Action Suit For Creating Drug 'Monopoly'
In the Manhattan federal court suit, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, said Shkreli — and his company Vyera Pharmaceuticals — created the monopoly on the drug Daraprin in 2015 by, among other tactics, preventing “competitors from obtaining the Daraprim samples they needed to launch a generic product.” Shkreli and his company then covered up the scheme, according to the suit, by publicly denying the effort to block competitors from taking samples. With no competition, Shkreli hiked the price of the drug — which is used to treat toxoplasmosis and also given to HIV patients with compromised immune systems —from $17.50 to $750 in 2015. (Feuerherd, 3/4)
'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Monopolized Life-Saving Drug 'While Incarcerated': Lawsuit
Shkreli, 37, was sentenced to prison for securities fraud in 2017. "While incarcerated, Defendant Shkreli has continued to direct Defendants’ operations, communicating with Vyera executives and Phoenixus’s board of directors, including Defendant Mulleady, via a contraband cellphone and email and telephone services managed by the Bureau of Prisons," the complaint states, adding that he "transacts or has transacted business in this District and throughout the United States." (Conklin, 3/6)