Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pharma Bro Shkreli and Shadenfreude: A Match Made In Heaven (Or Hell)

Martin Shkreli under arrest today, inspiring a huge wave
 of schadenfreude. But will he get the last laugh? 
I bet it's fair to say that one of the most searched words on Google today is "Schadenfreude."

"Schadenfreude" refers to the pleasure derived from another person's misfortune, and so many people, including yours truly, have been experiencing intense schadenfreude over the arreset of Martin Shkreli.

Martin Shkreli, the "Pharma Bro" train wreck I've been obsessing about because he raised the price of life saving drugs to sky high levels to make oodles of money, was arrested on fraud charges, according to numerous media reports this morning.

He's the guy who raised the price of a medication for people with HIV and other life threatening illnesses from $13.50 to $750.00. His logic is its his job to make lots of money, and if sick and broke people suffer because of it, too bad.

He's been busy getting reading to inflate prices of other life saving drugs, too.

According to MSN:

"Prosecutors charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin, Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he'd been chief executive officer, and sued by the board.

In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements."

Everybody had a HUGE field day with this arrest, especially on social media, because Shkreli is such a vile creature.

Maybe this makes me a bad person, but the news about the criminal charges against Shkreli are making me a very happy man today. I'm in a good mood now. Like a lot of people.

When I Googled "schadenfreude Shkreli" this evening, I got no fewer than 6,250 matches.

Salon collected some of the best Tweets about Shkreli's arrest today, including, from @ohiotimmons3, "On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a warrant for Martin Shkreli."

@John Fuglesang Tweeted: "Wait, Martin Shkreli in jail? Are the criminals OK?"

Probably not. As long as Shkreli is around, somebody's going to get hurt.

Over at Wired, they tell us that Dean Burnett, known as @garwboy on Twitter, noted, "Government warning: National schadenfreude reserves expected to run dry by the end of the week."

I have no doubt that's true.

Many people are apparently worried about a Wu-Tang Clan album Shkreli recently bought. It's the only one in existence, and he reportedly paid $2 million for it.

Yeah, I don't know why anybody would spend $2 million for the only copy of an album from anybody, but what do I know?

If Shkreli goes to jail, I guess he now has time to enjoy the Wu-Tang album he bought from all the money he's making off the backs of ill people.

This arrest will probably slow down Shkreli's quest to totally inflate the cost of life-saving drugs for other people, but at least it's a start.

Here's how lousy Shkreli is. He told a Forbes health care summit early this month that he screwed up. Did he mean he shouldn't have raised medication prices so much?

Nope. He said he should have raised them more.

Forbes quoted Shkreli thusly: "'My shareholder expect me to make the most profit," Shkreli said, a theme he returned to again and again. 'That's the ugly, dirty truth.'

'I'm going to maximize profits,' Shkreli addes later. 'That's what people (in healthcare) are afraid to say.'"

In other words, the only responsibility of a manufacturer of a life saving medication is to maximize profits. The patients who need it? Fuck 'em. let them die as long as I can make millions.

No wonder people as disparate as Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton hate him.

My dream? That Shkreli gets a long, long inside look living among the "Lights of Dannemora."

As in the really nasty Clinton Correctional Facility in New York.

My dream probably won't come true, though. As The Guardian points out, even when there's wild excesses like those of Shkreli, the big splash of publicity over the arrest will be for naught.

Most CEOs caught with their hands on the cookie jar are not convicted. Even when they are, they get what for them is a slap on the wrist. A fine of a few million dollars, which is really peanuts, and then they can go on ripping people off.

I'm sure several more medically needed people will die to satisfiy Shkreli's greed.

Then it will, unfortunately, become his turn to feel the schadenfreude when the rest of us can't afford the medicine to keep us alive. The medicine that the likes of Shkreli prices out of our reach.

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