News & Opinion | May 18, 2020 11:32 am

Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli Denied Prison Release Request

Sorry, Shkreli

martin shkreli
Sorry, Shkreli
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Disgraced “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, who is best known for having once raised the price of AIDS drugs by 5000 percent, will not be released from prison, even though he promised everyone he just wants to work on a coronavirus cure.

The scammer, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence for fraud, petitioned for early release claiming he wanted to work on a cure for COVD-19, which he reportedly claimed he would give the world for free. Somehow, district judge Kiyo Matsumoto just wasn’t buying it.

“The court does not find that releasing Mr Shkreli will protect the public,” Matsumoto said, “even though Mr. Shkreli seeks to leverage his experience with pharmaceuticals to develop a cure for COVID-19 that he would purportedly provide at no cost.”

Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, who filed the request for Shkreli’s release last month, told the Associated Press he wasn’t surprised, just “disappointed” with the judge’s decision. Meanwhile, Shkreli’s probation officers slammed the request as a reflection of the inmate’s “delusional, self-aggrandizing behavior.”

According to the papers Brafman filed last month, Shkreli requested three months’ release to work on a coronavirus drug “under strict supervision” at his fiancé’s New York City apartment. In a research proposal posted online, Shkreli also touted his background “as a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur, having purchased multiple companies, invented multiple new drug candidates,” arguing that his glowing reputation made him a valuable asset in the fight against COVID-19.

Unfortunately for Shkreli, the judge just didn’t quite see it that way. Shkreli will continue to serve out his sentence at a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, which currently has no reported cases of coronavirus among inmates and staff.

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