If you have spent much time on the internet at all recently or in the year 2015, then it's very likely you have heard of the pharmaceutical CEO named Martin Shkreli, otherwise known as "The most hated man in America." With Martin's unique looks, prideful poise and high net worth, he became an easy target for Americans when the media announced Shkreli had raised the priced of Daraprim (a drug used for AIDS patients) from $13.50 up to $750 overnight.
Anyone's first reaction would be to see this as a greedy action on Shkreli's part, when he raises a drug price by 5,000 percent in less than 24 hours. The media displayed Martin Shkreli as an evil, rich punk who did this only for his own interest. The internet and social media sites quickly jumped on this story, and before we knew it, the price of Daraprim became a national story with Martin as the main villain.
I too immediately found myself jumping on the bandwagon, with a complete disapproval of the CEO's actions and business decisions. Why would he raise the price so drastically in such little time? Doesn't he care about all the people that are going to have to pay these prices? What if people can no longer afford to buy the drug they need? But what I didn't expect is that all these questions could easily be resolved by simply listening to Martin's side of the story.
Martin Shkreli is actually a pretty good guy. Here's why.
1. Daraprim hasn't been updated since the 1940s.
AIDS patients are still using the same drug as patients were in the mid-20th century. Our pharmaceutical technologies and sciences have evolved quickly, making Daraprim a very outdated medication. It is hard on the body right now and is very harmful to some patients.
2. Martin is using this extra money for research.
Since Daraprim is a drug that could be far less harmful with the right research, Shkreli saw an opportunity to make this drug's performance level much more efficient and less harmful for patients. By raising the extra money he is charging for the drug, more research can be done, improving the drug for its patients.
3. Martin has no salary with this company.
That's right, Shkreli receives zero dollars in income when it comes to Daraprim's profits. So it's easy to realize he is not doing this for the purpose of money.
4. Martin offers the drug for free to anyone who can't afford it.
The many patients who could not afford to buy this drug were at first in a panic, but Shkreli made it clear that his company would offer Daraprim for free to anyone who couldn't come up with the proper cash.
5. Martin's parents were immigrants and janitors.
Martin was not a trust-fund baby and he built everything he owns by himself.
6. This decision negatively affects the real greed.
The only groups that take the hit from this drastic price jump are the insurance companies and large companies like Walmart who have to pay full price. Though this can be ethically debatable, Martin had the intention of charging big companies high prices rather than the little guys.
7. Martin Shkreli pleaded the Fifth for the right reasons.
Another popular video bashing Shkreli that surfaced was the filming of Martin pleading the Fifth amendment in front of Congress. Many saw Shkreli acting in a disrespectful way towards the members of Congress, but in reality Congress was the true force of disrespect. Unlike most cases when they are informed that the defendant is going to take the Fifth, the testimony is usually dropped; but in this case, for political publicity, congress forced Shkreli to be there. Most would be fairly short in response too if put in that situation.
8. Martin has an incredibly positive history.
Whether it is donating to charity, helping his customers with financial needs, his support for LGBT rights, or his appreciation for "Wu-Tang," Shkreli has a history of helping those in need and being quite respectable.
Martin Shkreli is by no means perfect in his decisions or character, but regardless this man should not be hated by anyone. He has made these business decisions for the right reasons. Martin made the mistake of playing the role as the bad guy, because it simply amused him that he became such a hated figure. But Martin also stated his friends know "he is not that guy."
In all reality, Martin is on our side; the media is not.