- Thomson Reuters
On Monday,the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (PhRMA) kicked off a multi-year ad campaign to try and shift the criticism the industry’s been getting on drug pricing onto a more positive topic.
In a press briefing, PhRMA president Steve Ubl described the campaign as “Less hoodie, more lab coats,” an apparent jab at Martin Shkreli, who wore a hoodie while he was arrested for securities fraud in December 2015 and on stage at a conference earlier that same month.
Shkreli, just in case you’ve somehow forgotten, was the CEO of a small drugmaker that became famous for buying an old infection-fighting drug and jacking up its price by 5000% overnight. The move served only to draw attention to the size and scale of price increases across the industry.
Shkreli, who isn’t exactly a sympathetic character in all this – he was just kicked off Twitter after harassing a female journalist – responded by pointing the finger squarely back at the drug industry. (His arrest, incidentally, was not related to the price hike that made him famous).
He built a website to that runs through a list of PhRMA members and links to instances of their own price hikes and other legal troubles. Business Insider hasn’t been able to vet all his claims, though his comments highlight what the PhRMA campaign tries not to: The fact that routine price increases – often very large ones, sometimes many times a year – are standard practice across the industry.
“Pharma is a wonderful industry that does great things, but trying to throw me under the bus is foolish,” Shkreli wrote.
Here’s the first video ad of the campaign: