It turns out Martin Shkreli, the smug epitome of capitalist greed who hiked the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat life-threatening parasitic infections, by more than 5,000 percent, is something of a Bernie Sanders supporter.
The feeling is not mutual. A donation of $2,700 to the Sanders campaign from Shkreli — the maximum individual contribution — was promptly handed over to the Whitman-Walker health clinic in Washington.
“We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,” campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said.
Of course, Shkreli doesn’t agree with all of the candidates positions, and that’s what the donation was really about: send money, get Sanders’ attention, schedule meeting and tell him why he’s wrong about big pharma. Solving problems with cash — it’s a shock Sanders didn’t choose that as a campaign slogan.
One of Sanders’ core positions as a self-described socialist is finding creative ways to allow people access to the medications they need at a lower cost. He’s proposed requiring Medicare to negotiate lowering prices and allowing people to import cheaper meds from Canada. So, pretty much the anti-Shkreli approach.
“He’ll take my money, but he won’t engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better,” Shkreli said in an interview. Call us crazy, but we imagine Sanders has a pretty firm grasp on his position.
Shkreli went on to essentially prove himself wrong by saying he could adapt in the market if Sanders got his way.
“Right now the rule of law in the United States is that drug companies can price their products wherever they see fit, not wherever he sees fit,” Shkreli said. “If the rule changes by congressional vote, then you know, I’ll adapt to the rules.”
No biggie — he’ll adapt.
We’re not sure the same strategy of “I’ll just adapt” will work out so well for the people in dire need of Shkreli’s exorbitantly overpriced medicine.
Shkreli did say he was a fan of some of Sanders’ positions, namely his call for free public college for everyone and improved access to mental health care.