What's Going on With Martin Shkreli Lately?

Martin Shkreli in suit outside courthouse

JStone / Shutterstock.com

Since reports surfaced that Martin Shkreli used a contraband cellular phone to conduct business from behind bars, the controversial biotech bad boy investor has not been heard from. And it may be because he is currently in solitary confinement.

In March it was revealed that Shkreli, who is currently serving time at a federal prison in Fort Dix, had access to a contraband cellular phone and was using it to “call the shots” at Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that has been redubbed Phoenixus AG. Shkreli allegedly used the phone earlier this year to terminate the chief executive officer who had been running the company in his absence. According to prison guidelines, it is a violation of federal regulations to run a business from behind bars. Days after the report broke, the Federal Bureau of Prisons began investigating the reports.

While the Bureau investigates, reports are surfacing that Shkreli is currently in solitary confinement. And that may explain why there have been no posts made to the Martin Shkreli online blog. The blog, as BioSpace has reported before, includes Shkreli’s musings about various topics from hip hop to the pharma industry. Shkreli pens his thoughts and mails them to a friend who is not incarcerated to post online. The last entry on the blog was the March 7 post made right after reports were made about Shkreli’s use of a mobile phone.

If Shkreli is in solitary, the prison is not confirming, Forbes reported. Additionally, Shkreli’s attorney also declined to comment. However, Forbes noted that a source close to Shkreli’s team said the brash entrepreneur known as “Pharma Bro” had been placed in the special housing unit, solitary, in the middle of March shortly after the reports of the contraband phone surfaced. An inmate, Justin Liverman serving time for hacking, confirmed the SHU report to Forbes.

Click to sign up for newsletters

Shkreli has less than 1,000 days until he is scheduled to be released. He reportedly believes he will resume leadership of Phoenixus and direct the company to acquire more rare drugs in various stages of development and also undertake an ambitious research-and-development agenda. Although he no longer serves as an executive of the company, he has a significant amount of shares in the company, which allows him to dictate advice and direction to company leaders. Prior to his incarceration, Shkreli was instrumental in guiding the governance of the company formerly known as Turing. He was able to help ensure the election of board members who are his allies.

Shkreli first rose to notoriety as the chief executive officer of Turing. He directed the company to acquire the decades-old toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim in August 2015 from Impax Laboratories for $55 million. Then, the company increased the price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill, a 5,000 percent increase. Shkreli then brashly defended the decision and even said at one point he should have raised the price even more. That level of brashness and a focus on revenue propelled Shkreli into a level of infamy in the United States. However, as despised as he became in the eyes of many who raised concerns over the price of medications, the price increase was not illegal.

What landed Shkreli behind bars was securities fraud. According to the indictment against Shkreli, he and his partners, including attorney Evan Greebel, orchestrated three interrelated fraudulent schemes—a scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in MSMB Capital; a scheme to defraud investors and potential investors in MSMB Healthcare; and a scheme to defraud Retrophin, the company Shkreli founded. The indictment said Shkreli’s scheme, which caused his investors to suffer a loss of more than $11 million, was carried out over a five-year period, from 2009 to 2014.

Shkreli was found guilty in August 2017 and entered prison in 2018. While he awaited trial, Shkreli did not maintain a low profile. In the fall of 2016, Shkreli heckled former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her failed presidential campaign after she collapsed at an event in New York. An avid user of social media, he managed to get his Twitter account suspended, along with his Periscope account, for harassing reporters.

Back to news