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Man whose company hiked cost of life-saving drug arrested on fraud charges

Martin Shkreli came under criticism after his company increased the cost of Daraprim by over 5,000%.

MARTIN SHKRELI, THE former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is in custody following a securities probe.

The fraud charges against him are thought to relate to a different drug company he founded, Retrophin, and a defunct hedge fund, MSNB Capital Management, that he previously managed.

Calls to a lawyer who has represented Shkreli in the past were not immediately returned, but his arrest was confirmed today by FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.

Shkreli stirred public outrage earlier this fall when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, jacked the price of a drug used to treat a life-threatening infection by more than 5,000%.

capture 2 Source: Martin Shkreli/Twitter

Turing raised the price on Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug whose patent expired decades ago, from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

The drug is the only approved treatment for a rare parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis that mainly strikes pregnant women, cancer patients and Aids patients.

Limited competition

Shkreli said the company would cut the drug’s price. Last month, however, Turing reneged on its pledge.

Instead, the company is reducing what it charges hospitals for Daraprim by as much as 50%. Most patients’ copayments will be capped at $10 or less a month.

But insurance companies will be stuck with the bulk of the tab, potentially driving up future treatment and insurance costs.

Shkreli Arrest Protesters pour cat litter on an image of Martin Shkreli. Source: Craig Ruttle/AP/Press Association Images

Turing, with offices in New York and Switzerland, bought US rights to sell Daraprim in August, when it had no competition.

Daraprim is one of numerous old drugs with limited competition whose makers have raised prices sharply.

Additional reporting by Catherine Healy

Read: This guy’s drug company upped the price of a life-saving tablet from $13.50 to $700

Read: Terminal cancer patient pleads with government to pay for drug that could prolong her life

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