As list of most reputable drugmakers published, Shkreli’s list of charges grows
The bigger picture of who’s doing the right things in pharmaceuticals became clearer on Monday, when Forbes published the findings of a survey of 23,000 people worldwide. The poll, by the Boston-based Reputation Institute, was conducted over the first quarter of 2016 in 15 countries including the U.S.
Forbes says the scores are “ascertained by taking into account the esteem, trust, admiration and feelings the general public has for each company in seven categories: products & services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance.”
So, it’s (much needed) very good news for a few players in the industry, particularly Germany’s Bayer, the U.S.’s Abbott Laboratories, and Denmark’s Novo Nordisk, which rated first, second and third, respectively. Switzerland’s Roche and U.S.A.’s Merck also have reason to celebrate at numbers four and five.
Novo Nordisk and Merck had picked up some negative headlines in 2015 due to issues of transparency and pricing. Clearly, the bad news wasn’t enough to taint their reputations for very long, though. The fact that they poll the general public breeds confidence in the top-scoring companies, because many of those responding are investors.
Speaking of which… The day before the Forbes list came out, the guy known in media circles as “the most hated man in America” during most of 2015 made headlines again, this time… well, this time for more of the same thing, really. Federal prosecutors have brought additional charges against Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, for yet another scheme to defraud investors in a different company he ran previously.
Not wholly shocking, Shkreli and his attorney at the time allegedly perpetrated the fraud against investors in the same company named in the December 2015 indictment, Retrophin Inc. This time, prosecutors say the two set up phony stock ownership accounts for employees of Retrophin, all the while retaining actual ownership themselves.
How Shkreli and his accomplice managed to prevent the employees from simply selling the holdings which, after all, were in the employees’ names was not disclosed or is possibly not yet known. The leverage that the defendants would have had to use against the employees, whatever it turns out to be, strikes me as mafia-like. Did Shkreli and his lawyer have access to “muscle” of some sort? Even if they issued only “empty” threats, are we dealing with the Pharma equivalent of wise guys?
There’s no doubt that prescription drugs yield trillions of dollars yearly, and there’s lots of “influence” to be peddled – the cost of doing business, you might say. It all looks very respectable, with doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, and businessmen in tall shiny buildings. Outward appearances are one thing, though, and actions are another. You get the feeling that Martin Shkreli is merely the tip of the pharma underworld iceberg.
My upcoming novel, DEADLY PRESCRIPTION, is about a fictionalized Big Pharma that shares motives, hierarchies, and sometimes violent methods with the crime syndicates running other businesses.