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New York AG Seeks To Ban Martin Shkreli For Life From Pharma Industry

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New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against Vyera Pharmaceuticals and two of its former CEOs, including imprisoned 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli, for illegally monopolizing a life-saving drug Daraprim.

The lawsuit seeks a lifetime ban on Shkreli and his business partner Kevin Mulleady working in the pharmaceutical industry. Shkreli is currently serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison for securities fraud.

The joint lawsuit was filed by the New York AG with the FTC after a multi-year investigation found Shkreli and Vyera, previously known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, stifled competition after raising the price of the drug by more than 4,000 percent.

Daraprim is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis.

The drug has been the gold standard for treatment of toxoplasmosis for decades. Despite being unpatented, there is no generic version of Daraprim sold in the U.S.

Vyera Pharma was the only FDA-approved source of the medication. After buying the rights to Daraprim in August 2015, Shkreli and Vyera raised the price of the drug by more than 4,000 percent overnight to $750 per tablet, the New York AG said.

The drug, which was an affordable, life-saving treatment for decades, was selling at a list price of $17.50 per tablet until then.

The New York AG noted that Vyera purchased the drug, increased the price, altered its distribution, and engaged in other conduct to delay and impede generic competition. The high price and distribution changes limited access to the drug.

The complaint alleges that Vyera anticipated that its decision to increase the price of Daraprim by more than 4,000 percent would invite generic competition. The pharmaceutical company, therefore, took specific actions to impede and delay entry by competitors and to preserve its monopoly over profits.

Vyera is also accused of prevented competitors from accessing a critical ingredient used to manufacture Daraprim.

The lawsuit further alleges that as a result of Vyera's anti-competitive conduct, generic entry into the pharmaceutical marketplace continues to be delayed today.

Hospitals, physicians, and patients continue to pay exorbitant prices or are forced to make difficult treatment decisions without affordable access to the most effective treatment.

The New York AG and the FTC are seeking to enjoin Vyera's conduct and to obtain monetary relief for the victims of the company's illicit scheme.

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