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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 23, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 43
Bernie Sanders snubs profiteering pharma CEO
Campaign donation will go to health clinic
Section One
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Bernie Sanders snubs profiteering pharma CEO
Campaign donation will go to health clinic

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will transfer a $2,700 campaign donation to a District of Columbia health clinic because the donor is pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli.

Shkreli is the drug company executive who acquired rights to Daraprim, a medication used by some HIV/AIDS patients, and then jacked up the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

The drug CEO tweeted support for Sanders during the October 13 Democratic presidential debate and then sent his campaign the maximum allowable individual donation, $2,700.

Sanders, however, is a long-time advocate of lowering prescription drug prices and had already called for a federal investigation of Shkreli's drug company.

'Mr. Shkreli is holding hostage the patients who rely on this lifesaving medication, as well as the hospitals that administer it, by charging unconscionable prices for a drug on which he has a monopoly - just because he can,' Sanders wrote in a joint letter with Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Under the circumstances, Sanders' campaign said, they didn't want Shkreli's money and would give it to the Whitman-Walker clinic in Washington, D.C.

'We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed,' Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said.

Shkreli, meanwhile, tweeted that he was 'so angry at Bernie Sanders' that he 'could punch a wall!'

He genuinely supports many of Sanders' positions, Shkreli said, and he'd hoped that the donation would buy him face time with the candidate so he could explain why his 5,500% increase in the price of Daraprim was justified.

'I find it bizarre that he won't engage me, because he's been willing to use my name,' Shkreli told CNN. 'He singled me out, but dozens of drug companies have done what I've done.'

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