Ever since my startup Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the drug Daraprim — which is an essential medication for treating life-threatening parasitic infections commonly acquired by those with compromised immune systems such as sufferers of AIDS and the HIV virus — and we raised the price of a tablet from $13.50 to $750 overnight, I’ve received a lot of criticism. People are saying mean things about me and there’s a veritable public outcry wondering how I could justify doing what I did.
Hillary Clinton called my “price gouging” outrageous.
But if everyone could just calm down for one second, I think that I can explain the reasoning behind my actions and explain my justification quite succinctly:
I like money more than people.
Is that clear? If not, let me attempt to elucidate further. If I was taking a test and the question was “Which of the following two options do you value more?” and the two options were “money” and “people,” I would choose money.
So, keeping that in mind, I think you can see that my actions were quite understandable (i.e., choosing money over people). By raising the price of the drug by 5,000%, and doing so without adding any improvement to the drug, I am making a very calculated choice, a choice based on my conviction of preferring money over people.
I’m hoping this is starting to clear some things up for my critics who were so baffled by how I could do what I did.
Let me try another route in case dumfoundment remains: Let’s say I’m standing equidistant between two parallel sets of train tracks. There are trains fast approaching on both tracks when suddenly I notice that tied to one of the tracks is a sack of money and tied to the other tracks is a person. To make this more specific, let’s say that the sack of money contains exactly $736.50 and let’s say the person is an uninsured American who has been paying for his Daraprim on a tight budget for the last decade and who will not be able to afford my price increase. In this scenario, I would choose to increase my net worth by $736.50 (i.e., choose the sack of money) at the cost of one human life (i.e., let the train kill the person when I could have saved them).
Does that clear things up? No? You still don’t understand how I possibly could have acted how I did?
OK, let me try one more scenario. Remember that Batman movie The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan? There’s this part where the Joker has attached explosives to two ferries, one full of prisoners and one full of commuters. And then a moral drama ensues, a philosophical battle between self-preservation versus the willful choice to cause the death of another person. It’s a self-verse-other dilemma in a distilled, pure form. Well, in that scenario, if it were up to me I would have blown up both ferries shortly after acquiring a firm that specializes in outfitting ferries with anti-explosive security systems, first making certain that I had an exclusive government contract with the Gotham transportation authority, knowing that the stock price of my new firm would increase dramatically after such a public multi-ferry explosion incident. And the reason I would do all of that is because … say it with me now … I value money more than human life.
I think you’re starting to understand the place where I’m coming from, now! I’m coming from a place where making the numbers in my stock portfolio go higher brings me joy in the same way that helping a community member in need might bring joy to a non-psychopath. And “joy” isn’t quite the right word since I don’t really feel emotions in that way. It’s more like a sense of satisfaction after having seen one’s will manifested upon the external world. I think the German’s have a single word for it.
In summary, to me, Martin Shkreli:
money > human life
I hope that clears everything up for everyone.
p.s. - if you all whine enough I might say I’m going to lower the price, but don’t worry, I’ll still be making millions.