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Breaking: The Martin Shkreli Interview for #HIVscoop

HIV Positive journalist, Josh Robbins, host of awareness series #HIVscoop, interviews Turing Pharma CEO.

The internet has been out for Martin Shkreli for weeks after he announced a price increase for a drug sometimes used by a few HIV positive patients, daraprim. He raised the price from $13.50/pill to roughly $750/pill and some believe he is deserving of the title: The Internet’s Most Hated Man. (Although that title has been given out to others before.)

But, how hard is this drug to access? The internet would have us believe incredibly difficult. But where is the patient or groups that are not getting it? They may exist, but they have not been identified as of yet.

For this interview, I reached out to Shkreli via Twitter and simply asked him if he would do a video interview with me, for my HIV activism site, imstilljosh.com. His reply: “Sure.” So over the course of a week or so, we worked out the when and where, all the while I knew perfectly well that I wanted to scoop the major news organizations who hadn’t been able to secure the answers to two questions: when would he lower the price? and what would that price be?

Don’t forget Turing Pharmaceuticals was more than willing to respond to me prior when I asked these questions before, but although I wasn’t given an answer prior, I at least got a response.

For some, this interview will be too long and softball questions and answers. For others, you will find the always-before arrogant CEO a bit less stern and actually at times someone I could see myself being friends with and having intelligent health/pharma chat. My intention in this interview was not to grill him, make him feel bad or good, but simply to ask questions and listen. I am not a seasoned on-camera talent and mistakes happen, but this interview is the interview nobody else could get. When I got the shot, I set up my laptop, camera and started recording. I expected 15 mins of his time, and I got over an hour.

This is the imstilljosh.com exclusive #HIVscoop interview with Martin Shkreli.

 

What are your thoughts on Shkreli now? Is it fair that pharma companies turn a profit? And with all the hate on the internet about Shkreli and talk about patients being left to die because of the price, does it matter that not one patient has been found to not have access to the medication? Did the internet hate the game less, and hate the player of that game more?

Did the internet get this one wrong? You decide. For me, regardless of how this plays out, there is actually very little doubt in my opinion that Shkreli isn’t as the internet would have me believe. I actually think he cares very much about people’s health. He just believes in making money as well. I am comfortable with pharma as a whole making a profit, as long as access isn’t a problem. For daraprim–so far that is not an issue for this expensive drug.

Thanks Martin for your time and willingness to open up and talk with me a few days ago. By sharing this entire interview, I am hoping that many questions are answered and you are able to set some of the record straight about this situation.

Josh Robbins

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HIV-Positive Blogger & Activist, Supporter of Equality & Encouragement, and also an owner of a talent agency and a partner to an incredible fella.

30 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Iris Byrne

    Very nice interview. Interesting guy here. I wish more people would watch a serious complete interview instead of looking at pictures with two sentences on them. He probably has ideas on how to bring drug costs down, I would have asked him that had he accepted the Crush the Council on Foreign relations invite. He looks exactly like those pictures of people you see on ancient pots in Crete or Greek pre civilization. He could be the last of the sea people. but I still think they shouldn’t be able to buy these companies if they have to raise the drug costs way up. Also other people shouldn’t have to subsidise the costs of treating rare diseases.

  • Cyberdyne Systems

    I would encourage you to look into some of the other things that Martin has done. He’s done it all: from ex-employee intimidation to short selling research/drug companies and then sabotaging their research to make a profit. This man does not come near to the description of a kind or generous person, here is merely a mouthpiece for rampant extreme capitalism and greed.

    • I think you could be right about it all. But I also think he could be kind at times. As I said, I asked questions, I listened and let him talk. It was an important exercise to me personally to make up my own mind about someone I have never even spoken to as opposed to allowing anyone to dictate that for me. With that said, I know you have your opinion– I just also have mine. I don’t think he is scum of the earth. But, that’s just me…

      • dan

        Sociopaths tend to be pathological liars with a lot of charm and false compassion. It’s the actions that prove the person, not their talk.

        • Marky Musica

          Well said. Here is a sample for you, Josh.

          Around Dec. 20, 2013, Pierotti said in an affidavit, Shkreli sent a
          Facebook friend request to Pierotti’s 16-year-old son, and then later
          sent a message saying, “Hey, I’m a friend of your father.”

          “When my son asked why Shkreli sent him a Facebook friend request, Shkreli responded, ‘Because I want you to know about your dad … he betrayed me. he stole $3 million from me,'” Pierotti wrote in his affidavit.

          Shkreli, on or around Christmas Day that same year, “also sent a Facebook friend request to my 14-year-old son, who never responded,” Pierotti wrote.

          Then, on Christmas Day, “Shkreli sent me a message via LinkedIn, stating simply, ‘Scumbag. – Martin Shkreli,'” Pierotti wrote.

          Pierotti also said in his affidavit that in the next several days, he became aware of the fact that a copy of Retrophin’s lawsuit against him had been posted, by someone else, on his own Facebook page, and that his Facebook password had been changed, without his knowledge.

          He soon afterward discovered that the passwords to his AOL email account, as well as his LinkedIn and Gmail accounts, had also been changed.

          And on Dec. 26, 2013, Shkreli allegedly sent Pierotti’s wife a text message that read, “Hey sweetheart,” according to documents attached to Pierotti’s affidavit.

          Pierotti then complained to police in Summit, New Jersey, where he lived, according to the affidavit. A police report attached to his affidavit
          said that an officer from the Summit Police Department was told by
          Pierotti about the contacts by Shkreli and the fact that Pierotti
          suspected Shkreli of hacking his social media accounts.

          When the officer called Shkreli on his cellphone, “Mr. Shkreli initially denied even knowing Mr. Pierotti.” the report said. Then, when the officer told Shkreli she was aware of the Facebook friend requests, Shkreli told the cop he hadn’t talked to Pierotti in more than a year “so how could he be harassing him,” the report said.

          The officer, Kathleen Maggiulli, wrote, “I told him that should any of the behaviors continue; contacting any of the family members via phone, text, email or in person, contracting Mr. Pierotti’s employers or accessing Mr. Pierotti’s email accounts, it would be considered harassment as he has been verbally advised by myself this behavior needs to stop.”

          “Mr. Shkreli then hung up the phone on myself,” Maggiulli wrote.

        • PeterParkour

          A lot of these big company heads seem to be sociopaths. They figure that because of their money they can act like complete jackasses and they think lying and charming their way into people to be absolutely fine.

      • Jill Stuart

        He could be kind at times, you seem like a starry eyed fan.

        • No fan here. I just think he’s the wrong target for anger.

  • Kelly M

    Great interview. Martin is brilliant on many different levels.

    • Coach McGuirk

      Kelly…Marsh? Aren’t you the one the “Martin doesn’t support charities” quote came from, that’s been spreading around the internet?

      • Kelly M

        LOL no. Someone, maybe even you, invited Martin to suck their c0ck. I replied that he doesn’t do charity work. Then that same person threatened to tell the internet that Martin doesn’t support charities. I think his record is clear, he doesn’t want you and he supports real charities.

  • drugmonkey

    You got played like a fiddle. Next time my softball team’s looking for a pitcher I’ll keep you in mind.

    • Cool. And next time I’m looking for someone to be an ass– your the only donkey I’ll think of! 🙂 thx for your encouragement!

      • Billy Wise

        In your other reply you claimed to have “tough skin,” yet here you are already resorting to name calling.

        The interview did not go well for you, and I don’t see the reaction going well for you either.

        • Tough skin doesn’t mean door mat. 🙂 thx for the feedback… I think I did an okay job. Not too shabby. I wonder what other non-edited interviews look like?

  • drugmonkey

    You say:

    “But, how hard is this drug to access? The internet would have us believe incredibly difficult. But where is the patient or groups that are not getting it?”

    A quick Google search turns up this:

    “Some hospitals say they now have trouble getting the drug. “We’ve not had access to the drug for a few months,” said Dr. Armstrong, who also works at Grady Memorial Hospital, a huge public treatment center in Atlanta that serves many low-income patients.”

    Took me 5 seconds on Google to find that. Imagine what a real journalist with skills and not some self proclaimed hack like yourself could have done with some real research. You are precisely the type of amateur Martin needs because he doesn’t have the PR skills to handle himself with the national media.

    You though, are putty in his hands. Plus you get a little traffic spike by taking sloppy seconds on a big national news story. A win win for both of you. Congratulations.

    • Interview was fair. I asked questions that i wanted to know and some I had received. Thanks for watching it. And you are right- I’m not seasoned. But, I got the interview. And gave it my best shot. I’m proud of it. I’m no hack. I’m completely transparent about my feelings on it– even with my identity. Internet trolling hurts ppl, not me. I have HIV. I have tough skin bully. And thanks!

  • shesays

    And now he has been summoned for a Washington DC roast, or should I say examination into his business practices. That will definitely cut into his video game playing. lol

    • shesays

      This is important, it will help decide once and for all what he is about, as they are not going to let him slip, slide, or spin. LOL

      • Jill Stuart

        This guy is the epitome of arrogance.

  • Emry Isaac Dinman

    I commend you on getting such a personal interview with someone who generally has appeared jaded when interviewed by larger media (and which speaks both to your talent and the general lack of it in mainstream media), but as a reporter who’s found myself in a similar dynamic and subsequently defended someone foolishly, I suggest considering your own attachment to the interviewee. You saw him in a vulnerable light and saw that he was a human, and were reassured he wasn’t hurting any particular people, but the fact that this particular drug saw its price leveraged onto insurance companies and either state or federal subsidies does not mean that he isn’t gaming the system. He comes across as though most of his profit is going to either research or these limply described donations he’s made to patients, and when he says his company is insignificant, whether intentional or subliminal, his hope is that we will simply stop paying attention. Yes, the label Internet’s Most Hated Man is awful, but not because Shkreli is a generally good person, it’s because it hides the fact that this happens constantly behind Shkreli’s apparently dis-likable face. As soon as the enemy is symbolized in one person, and all the anger is directed towards them, it dilutes the conversation which needs to be had about healthcare profiteering, because it is steadily corroding this country. Again, not to defend Shkreli, but Turing (which, come on, a company now famous for gaming the system named after someone who studied patterns? What does Turing have to do with health?) is insignificant. They should have been a start of a conversation, but they’re looking like the end of it, thanks to–guess who–the mainstream media. Shkreli’s correct, he was disproportionately attacked, because the bulk goes completely unattacked. These practices as a whole could eventually destroy health insurance as we know it.

    • Good points. I’m not defending Shkreli. Or attacking him. I am saying that as a person that understands deals– $55m is crazy high, and he will lower the price if and when he makes his money back–that I believe the system sucks. I don’t think he needs to lower the price even, it doesn’t really matter. But, we need to ask why this could even happen at all. I think I was fair, and he opened up. Nothing foolish about it–because I’m not defending him. I will say that everyone is bullying someone in this situation . Lol 😉 thx for the feedback I have taken it to heart.

      • Kelly M

        If it matters at all, I think you did a good job. You allowed him to comment and give his point of view. That’s what a reporter is supposed to do.

  • Jill Stuart

    What does Martin know about curing HIV? Is he a medical Dr. Oh yeah, no, he is scumbag who is rabid for money and sees dollar signs instead of people. I had to wipe the slime off myself after watching your interview. You got taken buddy! Don’t you know the smooth and chill nature of a con artist when you see one? Luckily, he has been outed!

  • Jason Wooley

    What a phony! He pretends to be in a limo being driven home but if you look carefully at the background you can see the car isn’t moving for the entire 55 minute interview. Guess he had to look like an important and busy person rather than do the interview from his cubicle….

    • Kelly M

      He didn’t pretend anything. Into the interview he turns the camera around ago you can clearly see that he is alone and sitting in a vehicle.

  • Cristoffer Iversen

    The man who increased the price of daraprim over 5000%. What a moneygrabbing douchbag piece of shit.

  • Nolita Wineman

    w8 what? “not diseases like an upset stomach”? since when is an upset stomach a disease? it’s a symptom of many illnesses but not a disease in and of itself. i’m sorry but that was a weird thing for him to say.

    constant fidgeting + shifty eyes + playing with his hair more than i play with mine after a hair cut or fresh blow out = i’m really suspicious about this guy’s statements in the interview.

    you’re not wrong about the possibility of his being kind at times. the neighbors and families of serial killers never seem to know anything until the killer’s arrested. one can be kind at times and be generally evil. one can also be cruel at times and be generally good.

    maybe you can’t help looking for the good in people. i look for the good, but experience has led me to be cautious of the bad.

    just out of curiosity – how is the price hike not actually price gouging? at the moment i’m convinced it’s price gouging. still, i’m open to being convinced that it’s not.

  • Joe Biemin

    Martin was arrested and charged by the feds today for securities fraud. Your said, “I don’t think he is scum of the earth.” He is scum of the earth and he will be in jail and all of his money will be taken from him in civil suits.

  • Joe Biemin

    It looks like you are his last Tweet. “Martin Shkreli: I Support You.There. I said it.” I would like to hear your opinion of this criminal now.

    As far as jacking up the price of the AIDS drug, you should know that even if this is not passed directly to the patient, it is paid for by the insurance companies and the insurance companies pass that cost on to the insured by raising their premiums.