It’s been revealed that Martin Shkreli, arguably, nay, absolutely one of the worst men in the world, is the mystery buyer of Wu-Tang Clan‘s one-off album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.
As you almost certainly know, Wu-Tang Clan released a one-of-a-kind album this year. Once Upon A Time In Shaolin was sold by an auction house for what we now know to be two million dollars. It came in a fancy box, it came with fancy decorations, fancy speakers, and a fancy contract stipulating that nobody else would be allowed to commercially hear the album for 88 years (although the contract did change to say that it could be released for free or heard at listening parties in that time).
Howl & Echoes recently reported that the final sale had officially gone through, to an unknown buyer, for an undisclosed price. The details have now been revealed and we’re sad to announce that there’s literally nobody on Earth deserves this album less than the person who bought it. Martin Shkreli.
If there is a curious gap in your favorite artist's discography, well, now you know why.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 9, 2015
Live streaming. Talking music, drugs and stuff. May play something special. https://t.co/Ez8X7Bon7v
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 9, 2015
(Note: besides music, this editor’s primary life passion is writing about the trials and tribulations of the pharmaceutical industry, so just let her vent for a moment.)
Here’s a little run down of Martin Shkreli’s year of evildoing:
In early 2015, Skhreli founded a small pharmaceutical company, Turing Pharmaceuticals. In August, it was announced that he had acquired the sole rights to marketing Daraprim (pyrimethamine), a drug used in treatment of HIV, as well as malaria. It’s so necessary that it’s on the World Health Organisation’s list of Essential Medicines. Not only is it used in the prevention and treatment of malaria, but for those tested to be HIV positive.
Literally overnight, Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim, to use the technical jargon, by a metric fuck tonne. A monthly course of 75mg pills rose from $13 per pill, or $833 a month to $750 per pill. That’s $75 000 per month.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on. -H https://t.co/9Z0Aw7aI6h
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 21, 2015
A series of other stipulations were also implemented, including the prohibition of wholesale purchasing, and forcing outpatients to purchase the medication through only one pharmacy dispensary (Walgreens) largely in attempt to prevent the manufacture and development of generic (read: same but much much cheaper) versions of the drug.
When criticised (which he was, obviously, a lot) on the price hike, Shkreli said, “If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don’t think that that should be a crime.”
Aston Martins are not comparable to essential medication that saves thousands of lives. They’re just not.
To put things into perspective, the exact same medication is offered in other countries for other prices. In India, more than a dozen version of the drug are available, ranging from US$0.04-0.10 each. GlaxoSmithKline (who used to hold the patent in the USA) market the drug in the UK for US$0.66 per pill, and it’s US$0.02 in Brazil.
This is a man so evil that Donald Trump himself called him disgusting.
This is a man that the rest of the pharmaceutical industry (not exactly the most caring, loving, honest, well-intentioned bunch) have turned on. GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty, used the term “disturbing” when discussing the price hike.
Leonard S Schleifer, CEO of Regeneron said, “We do some pretty crappy things… [but] he’s not in the same business as we are.”
Trump on Martin Shkreli/aids drug :"He looks like a spoiled brat to me. He's a hedge fund guy. I thought it was disgusting what he did"
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) September 23, 2015
As you’d expect, Wu-Tang Clan are pretty pissed off, and have been quick to respond to criticism.
In a statement to Bloomberg, RZA explained that the sale went through before Shkreli’s actions were revealed. “The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
The worst thing about it is that Shkreli simply doesn’t care. He’s completely self aware, he knows how hated and evil he is. He doesn’t give a fuck about anything. “I was a little worried that they were going to walk out of the deal,” he told Bloomberg. “But by then we’d closed. The whole kind of thing since then has been just kind of ‘Well, do we want to announce it’s him? Do we not want to announce it’s him?’ I think they were trying to cover their butts a little bit.”
He went on the shrug off any worries about what fans may think. “At the end of the day, they didn’t buy the last album or the one before that, and all they had to pay was $10.”
Fuck you Martin Shkreli.