Infamous Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli Paid $2 Million for a Wu-Tang Album
If anyone needed another reason to take Martin Shkreli to task, they just got one.
The 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals became a target of widespread ire in September when he boosted the price of the toxoplasmosis treatment Daraprim by over 5,000% after acquiring the drug in August.
Now Businessweek reports that Shkreli paid $2 million for a single, deluxe copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, which the group said it would sell to the highest bidder. Before he closed the deal, Shkreli was allowed to listen to some of the record, but he didn’t actually do it himself—he “delegated the task to an employee,” Bloomberg writes.
It’s the latest news grab for a young businessperson whose 15 minutes of fame have lasted nearly three months. It was in September that the New York Times reported on Shkreli raising the price of Daraprim to $750 per pill. Shkreli, who started hedge fund MSMB Capital in his 20s, had a history with pharmaceutical maneuvering. In 2011 he started a pharma called Retrophin, which repeatedly raised the prices of old drugs. The company fired him last year and has accused him, in federal court in Manhattan, of taking money from Retrophin’s coffers to pay back investors in MSMB Capital. Shkreli reportedly called the claims “preposterous.”
Since the Times story, Shkreli’s list of vocal critics has grown. Doctors have called the price hike “scare mongering.” Outside the health care community, an indie record label in Brooklyn that he had supported cut ties with him. Hillary Clinton tweeted about him (“Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous”) and even Donald Trump said, “He looks like a spoiled brat to me.”
But Shkreli has shown time and time again that he is unfazed by Internet ire or by negative press. Bloomberg describes him as “mildly amused” by the controversy around his actions. And this month, he told Forbes he should have raised the price of Daraprim even more.
Fortune has reached out to Shkreli and Turing and will updated this story if they comment.