18 December 2015

Shkreli's lawyer hikes fees by 5,000 per cent

A criminal lawyer representing Turing Pharmaceuticals chief Martin Shkreli has informed his client that he is raising his hourly fees by 5,000 per cent.

By Victoria Basham


Minutes after Mr Shkreli’s arrest on charges of securities fraud, the attorney, Harland Dorrinson, announced that he was upping his fees from $1,200 per hour to $60,000. Mr Shkreli, who reportedly received the news while he was being fingerprinted, accused his attorney of ‘outrageous and inhumane price gouging.’

‘A bargain’

Mr Dorrinson was unmoved by his client’s complaint, commenting: ‘Compared to what he pays for an hour of Wu-Tang Clan, sixty thou is a bargain.’ Mr Shkreli reportedly spent $2 million on the only copy of an album by the group.

Skyrocketing drug prices

Mr Shkreli made headlines in September, when his company Turing Pharmaceuticals bought a drug named Darapim and raised the price more than 55-fold, from $13.50 per pill to $750. Darapim is the preferred treatment for a parasitic condition known as toxoplasmosis that can be deadly for unborn babies and people with compromised immune systems, such as those who have cancer or are HIV positive. Mr Shkreli claimed that the price was now more in line with those of other drugs for rare diseases. 

‘Ponzi scheme’  

However, the charges levelled against Mr Shkreli are not related to skyrocketing drug prices. He is accused of repeatedly losing money for investors and lying to them about it, illegally taking assets from one of his companies to pay off debtors in another. Brooklyn US Attorney Robert Capers commented that he ‘essentially ran his company like a Ponzi scheme’. Sources: The New Yorker; Bloomberg Business; The Telegraph

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