Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Wednesday lit into Martin Shkreli – the hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical CEO who came under fire this week for raising a 62-year-old drug’s price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
Turing, a pharmaceutical startup that Shkreli founded in February, bought the US marketing rights to the drug Dataprim in August. The drug is used to prevent malaria and treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that’s dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS and patients undergoing chemotherapy. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, tweeted Monday that the price hike was “outrageous.”
Shkreli told Bloomberg TV he hiked up the prices more than 5,000% because his company needed “to turn a profit on the drug.” He spent much of the early part of the week engaging defensively with critics on Twitter before Turing eventually backed down Tuesday night.
Trump seemed particularly perturbed by Shkreli’s inclination to dig in earlier in the week. Trump said Shkreli came off like he thought “he was hot stuff.”
“That guy is nothing. He’s zero. He’s nothing. He ought to be ashamed of himself,” Trump said.
Trump noted that he has put hedge funders in his crosshairs. He has said “hedge fund guys are getting away with murder,” and he has suggested he would hike taxes on hedge fund managers by eliminating the so-called carried interest loophole in the tax code if he were elected president.
“And he’s a hedge fund guy, who, as you know – the only one that I’m raising taxes on. They are going to be paying up,” Trump said Wednesday.
“But I thought it was a disgusting thing, what he did,” he added. “I thought it was a disgrace.”