One person who won't be meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) anytime soon is Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who made news when his company announced it was raising the price of a life-saving medication from $13.50 a pill to $750.
Sanders has been vocal about wanting to have Medicare negotiate lower drug prices and letting people import less-expensive prescription drugs from Canada, and Shkreli told Stat he wanted to explain to him how drug prices are set. In order to secure a face-to-face meeting, Shkreli said that on Sept. 28 he donated $2,700 to Sanders, the maximum individual contribution allowed. He received an automated thank you letter at the time, but now, the Sanders campaign said the money is going to be donated to the Whitman-Walker health clinic in Washington, D.C., and Shkreli will not be meeting with the Democratic presidential candidate. "We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed," campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said Thursday.
Shkreli, who told Stat he is not a Democrat or Republican, said before the Sanders announcement that he's "furious," and thinks it's "cheap to use one person's action as a platform without kind of talking to that person. He'll take my money, but he won't engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better." If he ever has the opportunity to corner Sanders, Shkreli said, he'll ask him if he's "willing to sort of accept that there is a tradeoff, that to take risks for innovation, companies have to invest lots of money and they need some kind of return for that, and what does he think that should look like? And quite frankly, what I'm worried [about] is that he doesn't have an answer for that, that he's appealing to the masses, that he's just kind of talking out of his rear end so that he gets some votes."