Steve Mahoney: Why are we picking on Pharma Bro?

20150922-AMX-DRUG-BG22Martin Shkreli, aka Pharma Bro, is a prime example of what’s wrong with American capitalism when it’s taken to the extreme.

The Washington Post reported that Shkreli was the CEO of a pharmaceutical company that decided to raise the price of a lifesaving drug, Daraprim, by more than 4000 percent, from $1,130 to $63,000. The drug is used to treat a deadly condition that effects mostly HIV patients and newborn babies.

While Shkreli is widely loathed and hated, he hasn’t done anything illegal by price-gouging Daraprim. In a CBS News interview, Shkreli said that he is a capitalist trying to run a successful pharmaceutical company that makes money for its shareholders. This sort of price gouging for profit happens in every industry, but it is specifically alarming when price gouging is highlighted in the healthcare industry because people’s lives are at stake.

Shkreli is just one of many people who make their living screwing over other people. We ought to focus more on changing the system that allows for this type of injustice, rather than vilifying one guy with an inflated ego. Time and time again, corporations show us they cannot be trusted to do the right thing and that good corporate citizenship only exists for press releases. A corporation’s number one priority is making money for their shareholders, and not the public good.


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