Thursday, September 24, 2015

Speaking of people I wouldn't want to work with

I don't really have much to add to the mess that is the toxoplasmosis/Shkreli story, other than this quote from Matt Herper's long piece on him at Forbes:
"I’m not a politician,” Shkreli tells me. “I don’t have to win a popular vote contest. That’s called being an iconoclast. You prioritize your compass over others, and your conviction that the compass is correct in making the world a better place. I don’t care about the way the media portrays me as long as I can keep doing my job.”
I don't personally have a litmus test for employers, but that quote about "you prioritize your compass over others" tells me all I need to know about Martin Shkreli. Dude, a little self-doubt? 


  1. Self-doubt is non a characteristic of egotistical sociopaths.

    I'm sure he has no trouble "getting tail".

  2. I think his previous employers might question his compass a bit, though I imagine his current investors like him just fine (at least, right now).

    I'm guessing that he's appealing to people who can't distinguish between someone who's unpopular because the world doesn't understand what he's doing and someone who's unpopular because the world does understand what he's doing. Alternatively, maybe he's looking for investment from people who wish they could be as self-assured as he is but don't have the flexibility to perform a recto-cranial inversion.

  3. The other problem is finding a pharma CEO someone would actually want to work for. Since it seems like their goal is not to have anyone working for them, I imagine that having people want to work for you would be maladaptive in this environment.

  4. Surprised to hear about the Ethan Perlstein-Shkreli connection, although perhaps in hindsight it all seems obvious

    Ethan O. Perlstein ‏@eperlste Sep 20
    So much selective outrage in BioPharma. $20B for half a drug - business as usual. Orphan specialist raises price on 1 drug - pandemonium.

    1. Theguy is a perfect salesman. All he did was networking and being nice to everyone on Twitter/Linkedin etc. and gain some popularity. A lot of people helped in on the way by writing articles, blog posts about him like he's going to cure all the diseases in the world. What a hype.

  5. It is clear that we need to reform anti-trust law to handle such situations as this. Shkreli is just exploiting a market inefficiency in order to be a temporary monopolist. He finds drugs that are single-supplier and small volume, buys them up, and then jacks the prices to the moon. By the time anyone else could enter the market (even if they had the incentive, as prices would collapse as soon as they did!) Shkreli will have made a fortune. Not only should anti-trust law make this illegal, but the FDA should be finding ways to block it, such as immediately and temporarily approving foreign equivalents (here in Japan I would pay $7 for what Shkreli is charging $4000) from other developed nations if prices of any single-source drug in the US rise more than 10% in a year.

    The idea that he is doing it on behalf of R&D is patently absurd. Something like 15% of pharma revenue is invested in R&D. If we wanted to fund R&D, we should do so directly by supporting NIH and the like and getting a dollar's worth of R&D for each dollar we invest, not overpaying for drugs held hostage by a monopolist and getting fifteen cent's worth for each buck we are overcharged.

    Shkreli is an egotistical sociopath and should be treated with contempt.

  6. That's what all Steve Jobs quotations bring to?

    "Making the world a better place", if his world is contained in his wallet I suppose this could be correct

  7. "The idea that he is doing it on behalf of R&D is patently absurd"
    Sure, he is doing research with the money. He is consequently researching whether to purchase a Porsche or a Lamborghini.

    "If we wanted to fund R&D, we should do so directly by supporting NIH and the like"
    Whoa, what exactly would you fund - more PhD and post-doc stipends, or more jobs for full-time experienced scientists?

    1. I've long been an advocate of switching our federal research funding towards more full-time positions and fewer trainees. Particularly in the medical/bio end of things, we are training more people than the economy can absorb.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20