The CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who became one of the most hated men in America and dubbed the "pharma brat" and "pharma bro" after he increased the price of a drug used to treat AIDS patients from $13.50 to $750 per pill, thought it would be a wise decision to take part in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session, the Raw Story reports.
Martin Shkreli, 32, said he and his public relations team handled the controversy "poorly." A Reddit user asked him if the "awful" AMA session was his PR team's idea or if he created the "train wreck" himself.
"This is 99% statement and 1% question," Shkreli replied. "I think that violates the terms of service."
Shkreli said he "talked to many HIV and AIDS patients" and that "none of them are hurt or will be hurt by the higher price," according to the Raw Story.
One Reddit user accused the CEO of using "sock puppets" to throw Shkreli easy questions during the AMA - a complaint Reddit users often have during the Q&A sessions. The Raw Story points out one user claimed more than a dozen new accounts were created, including one called "Shkrelidelic," which all asked questions to the CEO.
Shkreli admitted to being a "flippant jackass" instead of explaining the sharp increase of Daraprim, which has been on the market for 70 years.
"I believe drugs should be priced relative to the value they confer," he said.
But Shkreli was slammed by a doctor during the AMA session.
"Medically speaking I haven't yet heard of why your drug's worth $749 more than my pyrimethamine," said a Reddit user identified themselves as Anandya, a doctor who works for a charity. "Does it improve on the nausea, vomiting and (diarrhea)? Does it have a folate sparing effect? Can it be used in pregnant women and in epileptics?"
Anandya added: "No one's been able to tell me what your upgrade is or how it works or even if it is a cost saving upgrade." They then asked what changes or improvements Turing Pharmaceuticals made to the drug that would make the price hike reasonable.
The CEO said he hoped his company could make a stronger version of the drug. But Anandya fired back at Shkreli.
"The mechanism of the drug is folate inhibition," Anandya said. "The entire mechanism of the drug is to stop the production of folic acid in the first place and the bulk of its side effects are tied up with that.
"It's kind of counter-intuitive to say that you are going to solve this problem when it's not a problem as much as the whole raison d'etre of the drug. This I find is the main problem with your plan. That the solution is not worth $749," the doctor continued.
"One cannot suggest such a monstrous increase in the price of a drug which by your own admission does nothing better while telling me your plan is to (because this is the only way it would work) create an entirely new drug not related to pyrimethamine at all because it would require a new structure," Anandya said. "Which in turn would give you a big hassle since you would require testing and FDA approval from scratch anyway. I think your plan is flawed."
The Raw Story reports other Reddit users lauded Anandya with one user telling Shkreli, "Dude you just got schooled by a real f*cking doctor. Go f*ck yourself with your pills."