Vyera Pharmaceuticals to pay $40M in price-gouging settlement

As part of a drug-pricing inflation settlement, Vyera Pharmaceuticals will pay $40 million in relief to victims affected by its price-gouging scheme involving the lifesaving drug Daraprim, the Federal Trade Commission announced Dec. 7. 

The FTC and seven state co-plaintiffs filed the Dec. 7 court order after a January 2020 complaint alleging Vyera, former CEO Martin Shkreli and his associate Kevin Mulleady engaged in anticompetitive practices when they raised the price of the drug from $17.50 to $750 per tablet after acquiring it in 2015. 

The complaint alleges Vyera "created a web of anticompetitive restrictions to box out the competition," including entering resale-restriction agreements with distributors that kept generic companies from producing a cheaper option. 

The Dec. 7 order bans Mr. Mulleady from working in the pharmaceutical industry for seven years, in addition to requiring Vyera and its parent company Phoenixus AG to pay $40 million in monetary relief. Mr. Shkreli, who is in prison for securities fraud, is set to begin trial later this month for his alleged role in pioneering the scheme, according to the FTC. 

"While litigation against [Mr.] Shkreli continues, the order shuts down the illegal enterprise run by his companies, Vyera and Phoenixus, and bans his associate from the industry," said Lina Khan, FTC chair. "This strong relief sets a new standard and puts corporate leaders on notice that they will face severe consequences for ripping off the public by wantonly monopolizing markets."

Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasite infection that usually affects people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV. 

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