A Smirk of Defiance, or Just Dumb Hubris?

Here in Florida, we have a saying that goes: "Don’t taunt the alligator until after you cross the creek."

Martin Shkreli, former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO and poster boy for the smarminess of greedy capitalists around the world, must not know this bit of Southern wisdom.

If he did, he probably wouldn’t have appeared in front of a Congressional committee today with a defiant smirk.

The disapproval on his face was bad enough. But it was punctuated by repeated assertions of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

And that isn’t even the worst part.

Shkreli has been unabashed in defense of his decision to raise the price of the life-saving AIDS drug Daraprim nearly 5,500%, from $13.50 to $750, virtually overnight.

Yet today, he refused to answer any of the committee’s questions on so-called "price-gouging" in the pharmaceutical industry.

I suspect his "taking of the fifth" is understandable, especially considering he’s also under a federal criminal indictment.

It alleges that he perpetuated a Ponzi scheme on investors in hedge funds and a pharmaceutical company he founded and previously led.

To make matters worse, Shkreli took to social media site Twitter (TWTR) to express his thoughts on those questioning him, sending out a tweet that read:

This is either a case of obnoxious defiance, or extremely dumb hubris (or both).

***

Now, I am about to say a few things that might surprise some.

But if you’ve been a reader of the Afternoon Edition for any appreciable amount of time, you’ll know several things about me …

I am a lover of freedom, capitalism and individuals standing up for themselves against big government and other big social institutions.

That’s why, in some bizarre way, a small part of me wants to root for folks who end up in situations like this. Where the strong arm of society tries to bully people in positions to determine a product’s price.

After all, Shkreli’s company owns the patent for Daraprim. After many years and perhaps millions of dollars in research and development, they earned the right to focus on profitability.

And if you were to argue on the law itself, perhaps his company has a right to raise a product’s price by thousands of percent in a matter of weeks.

It’s stupid from a public relations perspective. But it may legally be their right.

***

Yet because of Shkreli’s abhorrent behavior, insolent demeanor and bizarre high-profile money wasting (he bought the only copy of an album by rap group Wu-Tang Clan for $2 million) …

It’s really, really hard to conjure up any sympathy for this man. At all.

Still, I think it’s important to separate a couple of issues at work here from what I think is a near-unanimous opinion that Shkreli is probably in need of some public shaming.

The issue here is this …

Does a company have the right to price its products … and does that right apply even if the CEO is a repugnant and insolent little brat?

I think the right to the company’s property here trumps any justifiable outrage over a person’s demeanor, misplaced bravado or unusual spending habits.

But the company would certainly need to address any regulations related to product pricing … and the legal ramifications of doing what they did.

Shkreli also has a right to be defiant in front of Congress, and he has the Fifth Amendment guarantee against saying anything that could put him or his company in legal jeopardy.

It’s just sad that Shkreli’s persona is as vile as it is. It’s even sadder that people are quick to conflate this man with "capitalism," as this noble idea couldn’t have a more abhorrent spokesperson.

It would seem that is the issue with quickly painting a face on capitalism, or socialism, when in fact it is probably better to just talk about a person’s or a company’s accomplishments or failures.

And it would seem this is going to go down as a failure.

***

So, do I think it was right that Shkreli hiked the price of Daraprim so high that most patients couldn’t afford it?

No. I think it’s an outrage.

Yet people have the right to "act a fool," as his favorite rap artists Wu-Tang Clan might say.

Then again, the Wu-Tang Clan thinks he’s pretty foolish. First, because of the price hike. And now, after Shkreli threatened to destroy the only copy of the group’s unreleased "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" album — for which he paid $2 million.

That is, unless he gets an apology from Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah.

Again, via Twitter …

I could say a lot more. But I’d like to turn the microphone over to you now …

What are your thoughts on Martin Shkreli and his behavior? Do you think he has the right to hike the price of a product he owns?

Let me know by leaving me a comment on our website or sending me an e-mail.

***

The Return of the Sound Dollar Campaign e-letter: Why Here, Why Now?

I’m quite sure you are well-aware that 2016 is a presidential election year. That means we are going to hear a lot of rhetoric about the economy, tax policy, foreign policy and what the proper role of government is in society.

Perhaps now more than ever, this is the time for an informed public to speak out on these issues of critical importance to our personal futures, as well as to the future of the republic.

Now, for the past couple of years I’ve been doing what many hard-working Americans have been doing, and that is concentrating on growing my primary business. That business happens to be helping investors succeed with the best information tools possible. That preoccupation forced me to shelve my regularly scheduled content in the Sound Dollar Campaign.

Yet at this critical juncture for our country, I am convinced that part of that information toolbox involves analyzing the political scene, and assessing what kinds of policies will foster the best results for investors. And while I’ve been doing that in our Uncommon Wisdom Daily Morning and Afternoon Editions more and more of late, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need another place to really dig into the details of what’s going on.

That’s why I’m re-launching our weekly Sound Dollar Campaign e-letter.

Here’s where you will find my thoughts, as well as thoughtful commentary from my outstanding contributors and intellectual brothers-in-arms, about the political, economic, social … even philosophic issues affecting our lives.

Think of the Sound Dollar Campaign newsletter as a rational beacon in a dark sea of political, economic and social nonsense.

If you want a different perspective on all sorts of political, fiscal and societal issues, then the Sound Dollar Campaign is for you.

You can read all of our newest posts at SoundDollarCampaign.com.

And to receive an e-mail as soon as we make a new post (about once a week), you can join the campaign here.

***

Stocks closed flat today in mixed trade. Oil resumed its decline after Morgan Stanley (MS) cut its year-end price target by 50%. It originally forecast Brent crude would climb to roughly $60 by year-end.

•  Earnings report, or damage report? Another oil company saw its profit plummet yet reaffirmed its commitment to its dividend. Today it was Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), which said its profits fell more than 56% in Q4. BP and ExxonMobil issued similar reports yesterday.

•  As if oil wasn’t under enough pressure already … the White House is reportedly proposing a $10-per-barrel oil fee for its 2017 budget proposal. Oil companies would pay the fee to fund clean transportation projects.

•  Credit Suisse (CS) saw its first full-year loss since 2008. The company is planning a big restructuring effort, to shift its focus from investments to wealth management. This will likely result in 4,000 jobs lost. CS saw another loss today — the stock dropped almost 11%.

•  Before New Hampshire’s primary, another Democratic debate. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will face off in a town hall event tonight. Martin O’Malley ended his bid for the White House after the Iowa caucus. On the GOP side, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul have also left the race.

Good Luck and Happy Investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Publisher

Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “A Smirk of Defiance, or Just Dumb Hubris?”

  1. I am most concerned about this. This could cause us to lose control of our of how these companies take care of employees. The Their profits would leave this country. How does really benefit us?

  2. After thinking about this a bit more, I’m on the side of Apple. All our electronics that connect to the internet should have this security. When shopping electronics, I buy Taiwan or S. Korea. China only if there is no other choice. Since Apple products are built in China, I wonder if the Chinese have a back door we don’t know about?

  3. The request is a one time opening with Apple providing the contents. We are talking about mass murdering terrorists here. What if there is a man identified on that phone preparing a huge terrorist event? Cook will be culpable in any future event, as a result, IMO.

  4. Such controversy…….initially I supported Cook 100%, now I am weakening. The public as usual is unable to receive a viable explanation of exactly what the Feds want and whether they would have control of the tech which would allow Apple to tap into THE CELLPHONE’s history on a one time basis. No doubt that Apple could protect the method to access this particular phone…the question remains though whether the details would be further available to the government….My outlook is that Apple’s compliance would open the floodgates to all of oucommunications , good or bad. Can we trust our government not to insist similar compliance in the future for even law-abiding citizens? Can we discount the probability that many, many times in the future, our government could enforce similar requests????

  5. The FBI has wanted a back door or set of master keys into locked phones for years. The suspects in this case are dead. The FBI already knows that when communicating with co-conspirators, the Redlands CA terrorists used untraceable disposable phones.
    I believe the FBI has requested this particular phone to be unlocked by Apple to create a precedent. They chose a case where there would be minimal support from the public.

    Once the master keys are created by Apple, they will use the keys to unlock a large number of additional phones. Before long, local police will demand to examine our phones when you are pulled over to determine if you were recently on a call or texting.

  6. I’m an Apple shareholder but do not own any of their products currently. I had an iPhone that accidentally fell into water and was short-circuited and unusable after many efforts to restore my photos, messages, Emails, etc. I did NOT go to the FBI and demand that they force Apple to find a way to get my data back– should have backed it up somewhere or used Apple Cloud. The FBI has NO JUSTIFIABLE REASON to demand that Apple create a “back door” to unlock the terrorist iPhone in question– since I understand that would be able to unlock any and all iPhones of the same type/model in question. If there is a way to unlock ONLY the iPhone in question, Apple should comply and do so FOR A FEE, though I am sure that they would do it as a patriotic act. TO BEGIN WITH– WHO SAYS THAT THE FBI OR ANYONE ELSE WILL EVEN FIND INCRIMINATING TERRORIST-RELATED INFORMATION ON THE IPHONE IN QUESTION. NO ONE HAS EVEN RAISED THAT POSSIBILITY! It may well be that NO NEW INFORMATION will be found on that iPhone to explain the “missing last minutes” of the terrorists’ existence. We all are angry about what happened in San Bernadino– Apple, as well as its shareholders and customers. What gives certain ill-informed, overly-liberal, so-called “patriots” (including the FBI) their belief that they can further diminish OUR PERSONAL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES GUARANTEED UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION? We have a Democratic candidate running for the Presidency who is “under investigation” by the FBI for using an UNAUTHORIZED, UNSECURE AND UNSAFE EMAIL SERVER TO SEND AROUND “POTENTIALLY HIGHLY CLASSIFIED” INFORMATION ABOUT OUR COUNTRY’S POLITICAL AND MILITARY STRATEGIES– where is that investigation going? Many folks whom I’ve talked to agree with some of your other comments here that 1) the FBI and their security partners (CIA, etc.) are doing LESS THAT AN ACCEPTABLE JOB IN KEEPING US SAFE; 2) FBI is making “Apple” the scapegoat for the San Bernadino incident which FBI and other agencies should have been aware of long before it occurred; 3) covering up their own inability to develop technology capabilities to combat subversive communication, computer-hacking and other terrorist and criminal activities that undermine our country’s security. WAKE UP AMERICAN PEOPLE– start demanding the safety and security that we are paying for and are guaranteed by the Constitution from the people we have elected and the agencies they appoint for that job. We do not need a “Big Brother” type of government to do that– but it seems some people in our government and some of the so-called “patriotic” Apple-bashers would like to have just that. Incidentally, I am an INDEPENDENT VOTER and both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are TOTALLY OUT OF CONSIDERATION for my vote. WE ALL CAN DO BETTER THAT EITHER ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

  7. What a lot of bull-s t, the islamist fanatics want to destroy our country and will do anything (taking advantage of our freedom of religion etc,) to ruin us and anyone else that won’t give in to their insane way of life. The govt., AS BAD AS IT IS, should be given everything possible to stop these maniacs.

  8. My sentiments are with Apple. A back door leaves us all a little less secure. HOW MUCH FREEDOM DO WE HAVE TO GIVE UP? The FBI seems to be lazy to me. They want everyone to make their work easier. It’s one phone get a hacker to do it. I refuse to give into fear. I don’t fly any more because I won’t submit to search and seizure at the Airport. The alphabet soup agencies still don’t cooperate with each other. I am tired of giving up FREEDOMS. George Orwell’s 1984 is here now. All the other Tech Companies roll over for the Feds, thank you Sam Cook and Apple for standing up to an unbridled Government. The Constitution is a working, living, breathing Document that the Government is HELL bent on destroying!

  9. On 2/19 Brad Hoppman wrote an article titled “Is There Really Power in Positive Thinking?” He likes to discuss the topic of happiness. It would be great if he advocates for the GNH (Gross National Happiness) Index that the country of Bhutan has. See Bhutan’s GNH Index at http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/

    Beate

  10. I think it was Charles K. on Fox News who gave me the idea. Simply put an FBI agent in a secret lab at Apple with an Apple engineer. Give the engineer the tools to retrieve the data from the phone and give the data to the FBI. Then destroy the phone and the tool. A legal search warrant should provide the impetus for Apple to help retrieve data without compromising their product. Oh, and the FBI should pay the engineers time for tool development, data retrieval and destruction of the phone and the tool.

  11. The people involved in the Paris attacks most likely had code protected cell phones. That was most likely why those responsible never were detected.
    Open the phone before terrorist have a secure path.. thanks to that I’ll thinking Apple CEO. And the fools that wrongly follow his lead.
    His stupidity is creating disaster. It’s just the truth.
    Wm.Harpham

  12. Assuming the gov’t doesn’t have resources to do what I’m suggesting, then I’m 99.9% sure that Apple does. As an EE, I’m certain that Apple can read what in that phone without revealing any “backdoor” to the FBI. I think the media is overplaying the secrecy aspect of this issue. Apple can find what the FBI wants without giving anything away. Come on…..

  13. Why doesn’t Apple comply, for the undoubted public good.
    But demand a contract from the govt. to wit:
    If the secret backdoor is then compromised in any way, the govt. will pay Apple Corp. the sum of: NAME YOUR PRICE!

    I would stipulate, say, $5 Trillion maybe more, plus gold.

  14. As a retired engineer having worked in a major National Laboratory, on cryptography related projects, and the analytical department of a major US semiconductor (chip) manufacturer, I can say (without reservation) the following:

    1) The US Government has the resources at its disposal to offload the encrypted user data from an iPhone and replicate it on a supercomputer where the NSA can decrypt it.
    2) The data, once offloaded and replicated, would be immune to the “10 tries” lockout.
    3) Offloading and replication of the data can be accomplished with equipment routinely used in the semiconductor industry for development and quality control. The process can be developed using iPhones purchased for the purpose and, thus, without affecting the target phone until the technique is thoroughly debugged.

    This would, of course, involve considerable effort (for the first iPhone analyzed) but trivial effort for subsequent iPhones. Perhaps the FBI is just being lazy – or, perhaps there is some more nefarious purpose in trying to force Apple to compromise iPhone security.

    The saddest part of this is that terrorists are, now, motivated to use alternative communication methods to preserve privacy. Methods (albeit somewhat cumbersome) exist for unbreakable encryption. I suspect that, in taking Apple to the Courts, the FBI has already caused this process to start.

  15. Brad:

    I disagree with Apple on this one for a simple reason: the phone device did not belong to the individual that Apple is trying to protect. It belonged to a county agency where the individual worked. I am quite certain that this person’s employer made it clear to him and other employees that use of the phone had some restrictions. Similarly, universities throughout this nation have restrictions on the use of their computer network systems (network data transmissions) to allow usage strictly for educational purposes. To do otherwise is to risk disciplinary sanctions and/or risk being barred from use of the system. If universities or other employers distribute computers for personal use they can simply confiscate them if there is “misuse.” They own the system through which information is being processed and/or the devices themselves. But it is might be a question for the courts if any of the above forfeit their rights for protection from forced entry into the content of the devices. I believe that owners can legally view what is in said devices for valid reasons, e.g., alleged allegations for child pornography, arson, bomb making/attempts, or other illegal enterprises, including this one. Hence, I believe THE EMPLOYER in this situation can access the information and surrender it to any appropriate legal authority that makes a good case for its cooperation.

  16. Re: Apple

    To gain this information the FBI should turn over the phone in
    question to a fully vetted, with security clearance, Apple IT engineer
    and let them retrieve all the data on the phone and turn over a report
    of all information on the phone. Then the phone is returned to the FBI
    in it’s original condition.All other Apple products would be un-effected.

  17. Hi Brad,

    Lord knows, with all the deceit, deception,lies,frame and blames, false flags, covert, black ops, and clandestine operations one MUST be very suspicious of this back and forth between Apple and the Gov’t!!!! Is there a false flag here??? Is there a hidden agenda???? Not saying there is, but it MUST be watched VERY closely for collateral actions and results…

  18. I think that Apple should get the information off the Phone and give it to the FBI. and that it should be done ASAP. I fully support Apple in not giving Any government agency or people a key or back door to their product

  19. Honesty and integrity is polar opposite to the Feds stance that can be summed up with one name…Lois Lerner. Ever wonder why Americans have a certain viewpoint?

  20. I am gratified and surprised that Apple was able to create something that the Federal government cannot hack. Bravo Apple.

  21. Let me suggest another possibilty for Cook’s position. It may be that Apple’s engineers/developers told him that had no idea how to create the back door that was requested. Some of Apple’s most successful software was purchased, not built in house. By publicly refusing, he saves face and keeeps the Public happy!
    Just a thought….

  22. Why all the uproar. If the FBI has a warrant for the info on a particular IPhone and Apple can make that available to them then Apple do it, for that IPhone. The idea to give them a back door is unnecessary. Or am I missing something? Jim

  23. If Donald Trump was in charge, he’d make a deal with Edward Snowden. Why sweat the small stuff?

  24. One issue seems to have not been discussed. That is, the judge had demanded something that does not exist! the cost of developing this tool could easily be multiple millions and take a year or two. It may not be possible to override the erase program already within the device. As a response back to the court, a cost and time estimate to unlock this one device, and a purchase order to begin the work upon the court’s agreement to pay for unlocking this one device might be in order.

  25. Very short. The United States Supreme Court rules Apple as a ” CORPORATE PERSON”.
    UNDER THE 13TH AMENDMENT THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO HONOR THE COURT’S ORDER.
    Ray N

  26. As Stephen Munnings is a design engineer, I think he’s best qualified to make the case for Apple. I’m no technologist but the points he makes are clearly pertinent and it’s most interesting what he has to say about the concepts of modern cryptography. However, aside from whether or not the U.S government / FBI has the KEY to decrypt the data, I agree with those who side with Apple in the contest ( so to speak ) between the importance of individuals’ privacy and the threat of terrorism however dreadful ISIS and other hideous organisations might be. Complying with the government’s demands in this instance would create an extremely dangerous precedent and open up a whole can of worms whilst I’m sceptical of its real objective. However, I shouldn’t expand on this!!

  27. I think that Apple legal should have compartmentalized access to a tool from their programming department, extract those data specified by the warrant, and forward said information to the authorized government agency.

  28. The purveyors of Privacy via Tim Cook I surmise would quickly change their minds if the (mis-)users of Apple products use them to blow the arms, legs, and heads off their daughters, sons, mothers, & fathers. I doubt that any of your commenters had a relative killed by Farook! Privacy is nice in a perfect world. Abuse of power is and always has been prevalent in our society. I believe this is a case of one phone and not a “backdoor”.

  29. If they didn’t allow so many of these people into this country, they wouldn’t be needing to “break the code”.

  30. I have not had time to read all the comments, so I don’t know if anyone has addressed these aspects yet, or not.
    It is one thing for the government to require the company to provide something it already has.
    It is an entirely different kettle of fish for the government to require a company to create something that it does not have. As a “Design Engineer”, I can confidently state that it might not even be possible for Apple to “hack” the already existing i-phone. Sure, it could easily create a system to make future phones “hackable”, but the security industry has done a good enough job that Apple might not be ABLE to crack that particular phone!
    The data might be lost to all for all time. (Or maybe not, it is not a 100% sure thing)
    Judges in general seem to not understand technology, its applications, and more importantly its limitations. They feel that by “ordering” something, they can make it so.
    Ask the legendary King Canute how that worked out.
    Again, how will they prevent the workers who may or might end up cracking this phone to keep the methods a secret?
    One of the key concepts of modern cryptography is “the method of encryption should be able to be made completely open (available to all) without compromising the integrity of the system”. Most modern systems (almost certainly including Apple’s) meet that criterion.
    The government’s own preferred method (AES) certainly meets that. I have, in the past, written code to both encrypt and decrypt data using this method. But, without the encryption key, I would not think it possible for me to decrypt any encrypted data.
    The key is just that: the KEY.
    If the FBI, NSA, or whatever do not have that, their chances of recovering any encrypted data are slim (and FAT).

  31. I do not think there is any excuse for not helping the government to keep us safe. Anyone who has an alternative motive to kill us is not worth protecting for one minute. You need to get your act straight.

  32. I thought that all communications are being mined by the NSA, if they are, then why doesn’t the FBI contact the NSA and request all communications between that phone and all other phones it communicated with. Problem solved, or, is the NSA also refusing to help the FBI, thus, the FBI goes after Apple instead. I agree, I do not trust the FBI or any police agency. Don’t build the back door, this way no one can hack them.

  33. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin. He was a pretty smart fellow.

    The odds of being a victim of a terrorist attack is very small. Much smaller than the odds that government or criminal types will do bad things with this backdoor code.

    Hang in there Tim Cook.

  34. I trust the government to screw up everything it touches!!! Look how Hillary and her aids put above secret and secret information on their cell phones and non secure email servers. And we are to trust da Gubberment with this information?? Gubberment has failed us and there is no reason to believe that it will not fail us over and over. Government is staffed with incompetent people and any govt. employee who is competent or reveals the breaches of government protocol is crushed b y the incompetent who are fearful of being outed. Just look how the Veterans Administration is operated as just one example and the half billion govt built gas station as another.

  35. who said when two people know a secret it is no longer a secret enough said
    ted finkbeiner

  36. I agree with Tim Cook.
    I also believe if the Federal Government is successful a new non US source will be developed that will seriously cut into Apple’s market share.

  37. Cook is honest and the FBI is not. Plus, the information the FBI says they need is now trivial. If FBI and other govt need such encryption-busting software, they should write it themselves, if it’s possible at all. Yay Apple, Yay Cook. I had no idea my own 5C was so secure.

  38. With a court order issued, Just get the phone in question to Microsoft, let them open it (in private) and get the information off of it. Give the information to the FBI. Microsoft could do this anytime in the future again with a court order to open any individual phone as determined by the court. Do not try to get Microsoft to make a backdoor access for the FBI to use at their own discretion anytime in the future, that would certainly be disastrous!

  39. I ABSOLUTELY agree with Tim Cook, the federal Government has shown NUMEROUS times in the past that they cannot be trusted to do what they say as has been documented by Edward Snowden. The government and government agencies cannot and should not be trusted.

  40. The solution is simple, create the ‘hack/program’ to enable investigation of the Terrorist’ iPhone 5c. Then release an iOS update for all iPhones that block the created ‘hack/program’. ….there are updates routinely released for security and lesser software bugs. There IS a solution/compromise if Apple is willing.

  41. Let’s not forget that less security is inherent in more freedom. That there are bad actors and always have been is no excuse for giving up freedoms that history shows can only be purchased by bloodshed through revolution. Besides the 13th amendment bar of slavery (forcing Microsoft or anyone to do anything for the government sounds like slavery to me), did we forget no less a figure than Jefferson warned that those who would give up a little freedom for a little security will have neither.

  42. Cook is right.
    The Constitution protects us from unreasonable search and seizures. The FBI has the right to search the seized phone as much as they want to or can but they should no be able to compel Apple to help.
    Creating a “backdoor” would also, potentially, significantly impact Apple’s strong consumer image and negatively affect the sales and profits.
    The FBI has a huge cyber team. Let them hack the phone.

  43. I cannot believe that Apple refuses to provide this back door to the FBI . Is privacy more important than life.. 99.9 % of the people have NOTHING to hide so why the need for so much privacy.

    The terrorists have things to hide . Let the FBI do their work and HELP them. Next time it could be a family member who dies because of some crasy terrorist.
    Cook is making browny points with Apple customers instead of helping to protect them.
    He should get his priorities straight.

  44. Why not give the phones to Apple that FBI wants hacked and a security cleared apple expert could extract the needed data for just this phone (under vetted court order). That way the “back door”access does not leave apple.

  45. Thank you Tim Cook for showing strength and character. I always said one of the best decisions Steve made was making you CEO. Again, you proved it.

  46. Hello Brad! Thanks for the thoughts on the search-warrant issue. While I certainly respect ‘privacy-rights’ and ‘gun-rights-ownership’, I have to strongly disagree with your stance and that of the Apple CEO. I have been a certified police-officer in our city for 41-years, semi-retired now. As a Detective-Sergeant during my last 9-years, I successfully took over 340 State Felony cases to court. Many of these included search-warrants, some were for phone records (obtained with a proper search-warrant). The request must be justified and within the law. These are not issued irresponsibly. The FBI needs no access to a ‘back-door’ that Apple already has, only THIS phone password. To apprehend other terrorists involved.

  47. This is much more refreshing than all the other companies who readily gave in to all the government demands . Cheers for Tim Cook .

  48. GOOD FOR YOU MR. COOK MOST BUSINESS EXECUTIVES WOULD HAVE BOWED TO THE COURTS DISREGARDING OUR FREEDOMS LIKE VERIZON AND THE OTHER CARRIERS UNDER THE BUSH THRONE, THEY ARE OUT THERE CAMPAIGNING AND HOW THEY ARE GOING TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS, BUT WHEN SUPPORT DOESNT FOR THE CONSTITUTION DOESNT EFFECT THEM THE CONSTITUTION MEANS NOTHING JUST CONFETTI.
    I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR HAVING THE COURAGE CUZ YOU TOOK A STAND FOR ALL OF US .!!!

  49. I fully agree with Tim Cook not to provide or develop a work around.
    The information the FBI wants is already logged on the Cell phone carriers. As in who was called, who was text, How big the file was and so on.
    The FBI only is using this as an attempt to gain ALL access via REMOTE EXPLOIT,
    for data mining anyone’s apple products.
    They do not need blue tooth or wireless connectivity on a device they have in there
    possession. Some thing to think about Android, and Microsoft phones already have the capability to be circumvented by the FED’S. Why do you think High Profile Federal Employees use BlackBerry Phones???? Why do you think apple phones are so popular in other countries??? It most certainly is not the price!!! Tim Cook should stand firm.
    If he caves in then I would Short the stock it would be a sure bet. International sales will fall off a cliff. With this news Blackberry sales will spike. Encryption APS will spike.

  50. Kudos to Tim Cook. We’ve already sacrificed so many of our rights to the God of national security, and put ourselves well down the road to being a police state.

    Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said that a nation that was willing to sacrifice it’s rights and freedoms for security deserved neither the rights or freedoms it sacrificed? (My paraphrase not the actual wording, sorry)

  51. I am supportive of Tim Cook’s response. In a country where the line between corporations and the government is often non-existent, it would be easier for Apple to comply with the FBI’s demands. But if decisions aren’t made based on principle, what happens when the next request is made to invade someone else’s privacy? And then the next, until all of us have no privacy at all. Considering how little we have now, it’s not just a philosophical question.

  52. If the FBI is serious about fighting crime… file charges against Hillary, prosecute her, and put her behind bars. SHE risked your safety with her e-mail server, SHE risked spies lives, SHE took bribes from countries and businesses for contributions to the Clinton foundation. So PROVE they are serious about our safety with Hillary and “maybe” I’ll think about giving them a way to violate my privacy. These rights were to protect US from the government which continues to use every crisis to chip away our rights, including free speech. Would you be so quick to give up keys if: A U.S. spy was caught in Russia and Putin demanded Apple open the phone to see who in his government was giving information to the U.S? Or how about a dissident in China is fighting for freedoms like we have and the Chinese government wants his phone opened – remember the Tiananmen Square massacre? I know our government said that if we ban guns there won’t be any gun violence but Chicago, LA, Detroit, Washington DC have the strictest gun laws and the highest gun deaths and shootings. Our government has walked all over the rights provided to us under the Constitution and the Supreme Court has helped them. As an example they ruled that the “PENALTY for not buying Obamacare” was a tax in order to promote Obamacare even though Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Carney and everyone else behind it said “this is NOT A TAX”. If you believe this is a one time request you are either very foolish, naïve, or ———- you fill in the blank.

  53. I don’t trust Apple with private data any more than I trust the Intelligence community. So…no back door!
    The acronym crowd had all the data points they needed to catch the 9/11 perpetrators and managec to drop the ball. Easier access to data isn’t going to help them anyway. So why take the chance? They need to stop being lazy and do things the old fashioned way.

  54. Its a shame in one way. BUT Tim Cook is right… There is no way I would trust the
    government to do anything that is right with the application. In fact, who could you trust with that application. Even Tim’s people could defect. Don’t do it is the solution.

  55. I support Tim Cook 100%. This is the thin edge of the wedge to force any manufacturer of a communications device to create a backdoor to that device. I hope Google, Facebook etc., and American consumers come out in support of Apple.

  56. Very courageous Mr. Cook. He is on the correct side and the government is wrong. There is no such thing as just one phone, especially if ordered by some branch of government supported by a judicial process. Everyone knows once there is precedent it will and does happen again. Then of course there is the expectation of Liberty, security and privacy that are compromised. These are not trivial issues and we have already given up way too many of those for the illusion of safety.

  57. I fully agree with Tim Cook not to provide or develop such a back door. No government could be trusted with this application.

  58. Please stand firm, Tim Cook.
    I heartily applaud your courageous stand.
    This is just another government overreach that must be stopped.

    I do NOT believe much further terrorist information would be gleaned from this single iPhone unit, as compared to what has already been otherwise learned about these 2 in San Bernardino.

  59. Privacy is a right of all free people, thats what the United States of America was founded on, every time you turn around, another freedom is lost to the almighty government agencies in the name of homeland security.
    If all these protectors of our freedom really want is access to this specific cell phone, why don’t they just ask Apple to agree to open the phone for them without giving them the codes so they can remove the encryption themselves.

    Unless of course that’s not what they’re really after.

  60. Tim Cook is spot on in standing firm on constitutional principles. He is to be applauded on taking this courageous stand.

  61. Tim is right not to do it. Clearly highly principled position. I applaud him! Now, if the NSA captures the data of every cell call and email transmission, then let the NSA provide the FBI with the data. The government, including the FBI, already has it.

  62. Why can’t Apple take possession of the phone and unlock it and give it back to the government? That way the gov wouldn’t have the back door known to them.

  63. Our government has proven it can’t be trusted. It spied on its own citizens. Giving them another tool to hack into our phones is a mistake pure and simple. The government will use its fight terrorism till its blue in the face and our overly nervous population will just hand over the keys to the city or the encyption keys in this case. Our freedoms and our privacy will soon be a thing of the past if you allow the government to run roughshod over your rights.

  64. Tim Cook is absolutely right and is undoubtedly taking the correct stand and position on this matter. We should never sacrifice privacy for security.

  65. If apple could retrieve the information on that particular phone and give the information to the feds then that would be fine but to give the feds a backdoor to all phones with that operating system the. Hell no

  66. Many thanks for a superb article. Who
    am I to judge but I think it is a good sign of a free country that a company can say “no” to the government. I hope they can work out some kind of compromise in the. best interest of protecting North America. Best wishes Hans in Montreal

  67. Suppose the notion that “in this one case” is agreed…and there is nothing useful found on the phone. Was it justified? Now, how do you put the genie back in the bottle?

  68. This solution to this apparent conflict is a win-win. The FBI should turn over the phone to Apple for decoding. Apple should provide the FBI with a transcript of the phones contents. Therefore Apple does not have to turn over any proprietary info to the FBI and the FBI can pursue its investigation. How simple can it get?

    I am opposed to Apple turning over any proprietary info to the govt. in the name of national security because it sets a dangerous precedent regarding personal privacy. I believe my proposal, if implemented, would satisfy the needs of national security & prevent the forced disclosure of proprietary information which is unconstitutional.

    If my proposal is not acceptable to one or both parties. I do not believe that national security would be seriously impacted due to the length of time elapsed from shooting. The imminent threat has passed,

  69. Why doesn’t the FBI just ask Apple to unlock the phone for this case and not give them the software to do it?

  70. Hang tough Mr. Cook WE THE PEOPLE know just what these criminals are after.
    They have proven many times before that they CANNOT be trusted.
    All that I hear on the media whore channels is how they only want access to that phone when WE THE PEOPLE know that it is ALL phones that they want.
    IF it were truly only the ONE phone than MR. Cook might be able to open it,
    Than give just that imfo. Hang on Patriots

  71. Your position is 100% wrong in this case. However, Apple will have to give in or face severe fines and normal people like you abet the loss of freedom for a single situation. There is likely no need to get that information in any case.

  72. I agree with Tim Cook on this issue. But all Apple products have unique serial numbers as well as the SIM Card being unique to each phone. Apple should be able to decode just one phone with the serial number. You would expect each phone to have it’s own unique cipher key and unless that key could be changed by the end user, Apple should have it on file. It would like be a 2 key system with a Public and a Private key (Apple would have the Private Key and the phone owner, the Public Key)

  73. I stand with Cook.
    Our government has proven it cannot be trusted with such a tool. Besides since the password is simply data stored in non-volatile memory, if you know the location of the stored data there are ways to reset those bits to zero if you have physical access to the device. If the FBI can’t figure it out they should ask the NSA for help not Apple.

  74. I support Tom Cook
    On another front, last week someone said it would ne nice if democrats could come up with a more balanced budget. I guess he forgot how all this recent financial turmoil started.
    G>W BUsh started a war in Afghanistan and said we could pay for it with tax cuts. I’m not an expert in budgets. So I would like to ask; did it work? Or is Obama struggling to make a working budget that is left waging two wars while congress blocks increasing revenue sources?

  75. I agree with Tim Cook. We have seen our governments agency’s being hacked almost every week. This week it was the IRS. Who says the FBI cannot be hacked. They probably have been. Most agency’s seem to have lackluster or even incompetent strategy for securing their data. The government spends a lot of taxpayer money collecting data or manufacturing it. Some of our country’s most sensitive areas that include national security, and weapons information has be lost to hackers. There are many people in government doing their jobs probably superbly, and there are those it seems to be unaware of the importance of their positions. They seem to be there to collect early retirement and benefits as secured data disappears into the ether.

  76. Tim Cook is correct the FBI cannot be trusted with this software—But in the Interest of security from terrorist Give Apple the phone let them open it change the password remove the software used to make this possible and then give it back to the FBI. Tim Cook will be seen as loyal to his customers and helping keep the country safe.

  77. Im very proud of apple holding its ground. The government is not trust worthy to be trusted with the information they are demanding. I use apple products I like them just the way they are. If I want any one to know my business I will tell them.

  78. Mr cook is right on with decision. The FBI will throw any and all under the bus any time and then lie about it.

  79. Re. Tim Cook/Apple versus FBI
    this is not based just on one man’s principal as you imply, it’s also based on a simple fact which should be evident to adult Americans at this point… you can’t trust govt…. end of story!

  80. We live in a country that has regulated Capitalism which is a good thing as most companies and their CEOs are amoral and unfettered capitalism would be a disaster for most people in this country. We regulate monopolies, he has a monopoly on a life saving drug therefore some government regulation is appropriate.

  81. Well, in this case of what price to attach to each product output, that is a business call.
    If the price is above what any buyer is willing to pay, then there is usually NO SALE..
    That leaves the door open for any who can duplicate the product ( meaning those in
    foreign Pharma companies) that want to make some measure of profit….

  82. Mr Shkreli has done us all a favor by giving us a chance to ask how the pharmaceutical business works in this country. However, from all the condemnations I read here, we are still not willing to ask the important questions.

    If you think that you know what drugs are effective and should command a certain price, let me assure you that you don’t. The degree of regulation (and consequently corruption) in the pharma business is unfathomable. Forget R&D costs – the real budget breaker in the pharma is marketing costs. That’s how drugs are either blockbusters or flops, not their effectiveness. Doctors don’t go searching for effective drugs. They are told, by sales reps with fabricated statistics which drugs are effective and rewarded to prescribe them.

    There is no room for ethical conduct in the pharma world, or your drug would not even get past the FDA. Checkout the story of Dr Burzinski and his lifelong battle with the FDA to get his cancer treatment to the public.

    The legislators and the corrupt agencies they keep in place are the real scums here. Shkreli is, in my opinion, a circus clown. I can live with that.

  83. After increasing the price of AIDS medicine, at least people stop using hazardous drugs. AIDS issue is better than consuming poisonous medicines.

  84. “Extortion”, which many people here claim is involved, means obtaining a value by force or by threats. There is no such action here by Shkreli. One person’s need does not give a moral right to confiscate another’s property: the force being threatened here is by those who would confiscate the drug, not by Shkreli.

  85. Mr. Shkreli is obviously listening to the wrong kind of music. Heavy metal (for example Megadeth’s “Foreclosure of a Dream”) might bring more enlightenment than the generally misogynistic rap genre.

  86. I think he was sitting there thinking “here I am in front of the biggest bunch of crooks in the country and they are calling ME bad? You think they’d call me BROTHER”

    The CONgress just is upset that he might be cutting into the money that they can steal.

  87. People & companies that do such outrageous things are inviting irritated government to take-over Pricing & Regulation ( & by pressure from irate people ).
    I MUCH Prefer Common sense pricing vs. Regulation any day!

  88. There is a big difference between Capitalism and “Capitalism Run Amuck”. Mr Shkreli is the representation of “Capitalism Run Amuck”. The vast majority of Americans (particularly the ones taking these meds) whose retirement accounts promote “CRA” need to understand the difference and decide if they really want to be duplicitous about it. I have chosen to abhor CRA and NOT have my retirement account participate in it. It is clear to me which healthcare delivery participant is Crony Capitalizing off of the ACA , which financial/investment participants ran (and are still running) casino operations backed by their depositors’ and the taxpayers’ money, etc. Do healthcare consumers really want to insure with public entities who, on the one hand, are obligated to pay out benefits to them yet, on the other hand, are obligated to pay out dividends to their stock shareholders who demand ever increasing profit margin or invest elsewhere? Seems like an inherent conflict of interest to me? Do finance/investment consumers really want their banks to continue to repeat the Musical Derivatives Chairs behavior that collapsed our economy and brought the world to the brink of depression and war in 2008? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with profit or even increasing profit margin BUT, when a business’ ONLY concern is, and livelihood is predicated upon ever increasing profit margin, there is no room for anything else. A book of absolute wisdom calls this behavior “the LOVE of money that is THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.” Mr. Shkreli is a Capitalism Run Amuck Participant”, you can deduce his acronym.

  89. Of course in a truly free country he has a right to be an obnoxious brat. But there is a difference between doing whatever you want and what would a be better course, perhaps tempered by maturity. However, please realize his hearing was a conscious charade against big Pharma purposely using a character in the news in a negative light, knowing he almost had to plead the fifth due to his legal situation. So he was abusing his drug ownership, and the crowd who want government to control drug prices was abusing him. Too bad that last part was lost on most people. So who’s the bad boy here – both sides.

  90. Capitalism is a way of life we all enjoy in this country and any businessperson has the right to raise the price of their product.
    Shkreli , however has gone overboard. I think you summed it up nicely, when you wrote “CEO is a repugnant and insolant little brat”. He thinks he’s got it all figured out, but down the road, what comes around goes around and he will pay big time one way or another.

  91. Puts one in mind of what George Soros did with his Quantum fund by selling the Pound short and making a billion dollars in the process, leaving little consideration for the ramifications of his actions on the little people of Britain. These people are not Capitalists, they are Financial Vampires. To call them Capitalists is an insult to the companies who operate on a competitive model.

  92. Generic Drug producers are the most economical suppliers of pharmaceutical drugs. They don’t pay R&D, or even advertising. They let the brand name producer that creates the drug in the first place to that and when the patent runs out they just mark it up from its cost to make as the selling price. (and drugs are generally quite cheap to make) It is a known fact in that industry that nobody has a chance competing against generic drug producers once they get into the act due to patent expiration. That is why pharma companies do everything they can to maintain their patents, extend or renew them by re-patenting the product with a slightly different wrinkle. Their profits made by the brand name pharma company vanish instantly after patent expiration because generic producers have the product made and they open the floodgates of distribution with low list prices literally the day the patent expires.

    But since the Touring (Shkreli’s company) drug was no longer protected by a patent why didn’t they just go ahead and make it copycat style like any generic producer would? They bought it from the company that made it because they wanted to be the sole supplier so Shkrili could implement his “jack the price through the sky” plan. They couldn’t do that if the pills were available for $13-14 from the original maker. If that were the case then they’d just price themselves out of the market with a large price increase. The only way that would work is if they had a monopoly on supply – and as everyone (except Martin Shkreli) knows – monopolies are illegal in the US for this very reason.

    If you were to consider Shkreli’s strategy for making money by itself with any and all ethical considerations strictly off limits – you would have to say that Shkreli has made blunder after blunder in the pursuit of profits with this strategy. The “real” profits in business are made repeat business and consistent use of the product over years, decades and even generations. Coca-cola is a profitable business today – but only when you think of how much many they have made in the last 100 years (in real inflation adjusted terms, of course) dos the profitability of that product come into focus. By conceiving of, let along executing this profit plan – Martin Shkreli has shown near total incompetence by failing to anticipate the likely reactions other players in the competitive environment (including gov’t) to his price increase. Even if ethical behavior were not allowed to be a factor in any way, you’d still have to give him a failing grade for this one.

    John H

  93. Martin Shkreli is probably a sociopath (I say probably because I lack the expertise to diagnose). But, sociopath or not, his company has every right to set its asking price on the property it owns.

    Do I like this specific example? NO. Do I respect and admire the rule of law that is the underlying principle be hind the actions. You Bet I Do.

    It is all about freedom and liberty. Much as we would like to think freedom and liberty are always beautiful and wonderful; they have their ugly side as well.

  94. This is all the fault of governments’ bureaucratic and expensive procedures for patent application which stifle competition!!!

  95. Why the surprise? This is exactly what you get when you argue for, vote for and cheer on the army of corporate lawyers and raiders for unregulated, free market capitalism. This is not so different from what the banksters were doing 10 years ago and what they have continued to do in manipulating the ForEx markets and the Libor rate, laundering drug money, and hiding much of their mega profits in off shore tax dodge havens,…. Need we go on? Predatory Capitalism has no ethics, and no dignity. They need to be regulated and policed and jailed when necessary.

  96. well, while technically he has the right to hike the price, i believe he’s committing suicide as far as his company is concerned, and definitely NOT going to be eligible for any humanitarian awards.
    as far as his behavior is concerned.. i believe he needs an extended trip out to the woodshed. something that is long overdue.

  97. Disgusting performance before the Congressional committee and Disgusting tweet. Karma will be his undoing. His lawyer has a tough job ahead of him.

  98. First of all, Shkrel is an a-hole and proud of it. Secondly, he had a chance to defend himself but didn’t utilize the opportunity. Will never understand how guys like this end up running companies.

  99. This is the first time I have read the Brad Hoppman email that I receive daily(?)

    First, I agree with his analysis. The Constitution allegedly protects the rights to free speech (except if you say anything that offends any minority these days), the right to “plead the 5th,” and the right to be unscrupulous in business as long as no laws or regulations are violated.

    There is a distinct difference between “legal” and “moral.” I might have the moral obligation to rescue this douche bag if he were drowning, but I do not have the legal obligation. We live in a society where people expect and demand laws that cover every issue but, internally and often unknown to them, deeply long for a return to morality. If we could get people to think of “what is ethical” v “what is legal,” our culture, environment, and lives would all be better.

    I’d also like to reflect on David’s 8:21 PM observation. If the media would stop bombarding us with 24-hour coverage that gives every nefarious creep their 15 minutes of fame, perhaps we would see a decline in nefarious creeps. We do not need to know every detail of the lives of people who shoot up classrooms or movie theaters, bomb marathons, drive cars into crowds of people, ad nauseum. I do think some people are attention whores, and we need to stop giving attention to them. Shakespeare wrote “Kill all the lawyers;” I’d like to add the newscasters.

  100. Forget about Shkreli. He’s just above board about the greedy raising of the price of Daraprim. He’s admitted Turing spent nothing on the development of the drug. Turing purchased the patent to profit by increasing the price. Why is Shkreli any more a villain than Turing? I applaud Shkreli for highlighting the predatory pricing of the Drug companies in the U.S. It’s something they are unable to do in the rest of the industrial world. Why should we be the only developed country to be priced out of life saving drugs? No small wonder an idiot like Trump is so popular. He’s right that the U.S. does seem to get the short end of every deal.

  101. More on Martin Shkreli and his company’s drug: Shkreli’s company Turing Pharmaceutical did purchase the rights to Daraprim, the drug he jacked the price on so egregiously. But any talk of recovering development costs, or in this case purchase costs is absurd because the patent on it expired in 1953. This drug has been around a good long while and without a doubt the costs of R&D were amortized long, long ago (and probably in the 1940’s). So it’s not that it’s protected intellectual property. Rather it seems that nobody else happens to make it. That of course is no reason for him to do what he’s done – and in fact it’s a very good reason for him to have avoided a big price increase in the product so as not to draw other drug companies into the game making it. (It is a business principle that high profits attract competition – and he ought to know that)

    So before we proclaim that Shkreli is such as sharp operator – let’s rethink the ramifications of his actions on this product. Even if he’s to get away scot-free legally (which seems unlikely at this point) he’s probably committed business suicide anyway by insuring that other pharma companies (including generic makers that are vitually impossible to compete against) start production on this drug ASAP. In a business sense, Martin Shkreli has already cut his own throat on this product.

    John H

  102. The question is not whether it is legal or moral but whether it is smart to demonstrate to the whole world that you can expect to get hosed by an insecure twit if you deal with him.
    What he really wants is notoriety. Let’s hope the media forgets about him and leaves him to the poor bimbos who apparently want to date him.

  103. Follow up on Martin Shkreli: Shkreli is a graduate of the Zicklin School of Business at CUNY – Bruch College. That school is thought of very highly in business and finance circles – so there is no possible excuse for Shkreli’s ignorance, petulance or poor judgment in running the company. The reason you get a degree from business school is to become qualified to be a professional manager. Martin Shkreli may have passed his exams at Baruch, but he’s clearly flunking out in the real world.

  104. First off, you seem to be a few plays behind the times. I believe that a generic producer has already come up with a work around drug that was priced under $ 5.00 and he claimed that he was making a reasonable profit. The whole issue of patents seems to be a bit misunderstood, First off the statute as originally written had a 7 year limitation. Big pharma lobbied Congress to get this extended substantially but this happen after the Daraprim was on the market. Regardless, patents have been abused, and used as a method of EXTORTION and the Government has been the enforcer. This whole enterprise has been an example of just how corrupt the system has become. Part of the basic function of Capitalism is COMPETITION. But this has become a relic of Wall Street’s preference to buy competing companies at any cost to create Monopolies. This is the Final Chapter of the Reagan Era deregulations which eliminated common sense in the area of anti-trust while extending govt. enforcement of patents which are just another form of regulation. I think this great Nation will falter under the criminal ways of Wall Street. If you want to know why millions are flocking to Bernie Sanders this is it in a nut shell. Remember this is still a Democracy and the ballot box will bring and end to these types of abuse if common sense does not prevail and soon. Keep up the support of these types of extortion and you will only hasten the wrath of the working class. Best Wishes.

  105. Brad’s commentary about Martin Shkreli: There is no reasonable explanation for Shkreli’s actions – increasing the price of that drug to such an absurd level. He just wanted to screw everyone who’s dependent on it (and screw them BIG TIME). That’s obviously his idea of how to make a fat profit. You can’t defend that on the basis of it’s being “his right” because his firm owns patent rights, or that its “just how business works; its supply and demand”. And you can’t match that price increase up with development costs of the drug either. (and my understanding is that his company bought the patent; they didn’t develop it themselves) While we don’t know what those costs were exactly you can assume there were more or less in line with the drug’s former price of around $13. But what his firm paid for the patent is all his company has in it.

    There are plenty of ways to run a business but that way is sure to be deemed criminal, especially since access to the drug could be a matter of life or death for the customer. And that kind of decision making is sure to draw the attention and the ire of gov’t regulators. I’m sure he thought that he was such a genius for coming up with this profit making strategy. But he’s not as smart as he thinks he is (which is clearly evident in other ways) because he neglected a key fundamental of business management. You have to get along with the government because they can set, and even restructure the landscape you operate in. Evidently Shkreli skipped class they day that lesson was taught in B school. But even so you’d have to be a damned fool not to figure that one out. Evidently Shkreli fits that bill.

    And as for value of Brad’s southern wisdom “Don’t torment the crocodile before you have crossed the river” – that’s really a great one for this situation. Although I wonder if that’s such a good idea anyway in case you need to retrace your path some day. Old Mr. Croc might well remember you on the way back and (you get the idea). Indeed it seems Shkreli’s hubris could be part his downfall. But there is no resemblance between what I hear about his ideas for business and anything that would be considered remotely ethical or acceptable in any way – anywhere. And in addition to questions about him I also wonder why the Board of Directors of that company let him do this. If deaths result from all of this his company could be fined and/or sued out of existence.

    As best as I can tell this guy appears to be a total A-hole. So no, I am not rooting for him in any way. There are plenty of ways to make money running an honest and reputable business. Warren Buffett has said this over and over – that if you are smart you can make money and you do not need to be a crook to do it.

    John H

  106. Martin Shkreli? Public shaming? How about a Singapore style public caning? He has a right to be a jerk, sure, but does he have a right to hold peoples lives hostage? In this case, the patent system is guilty as well, when no one can offer an alternative for obtaining this particular medicine.
    In most cases, I think people should be responsible for the misfortune that befalls them, if they contributed via irresponsible behavior to the situation they find themselves in.
    Not everyone that has aids has contributed via personal behavior to contracting the disease. Infants can be born with it…is it their fault? Spouses of indiscriminate cheaters can end up with it. What did they do to deserve no sympathy?

  107. I don’t understand how he owns the patent. I thought after 18 years drugs went off patent and others could produce them. Also his company did not have to do any research, they just produce the drug. This drug is as old as the hills. So raises the question why doesn’t another generic company make the drug? I think his activity was despicable and the one of the reasons medicine in the US is in trouble. Medical ethics and Business ethics don’t mix well. Greed tends to triumph.

  108. If a company is operating in a genuinely competitive marketplace, then of course it has a right to set a price – the market will swiftly decide whether or not the price represents good value. But, where the company is a monopoly supplier of a life-saving product (as was the case with Daraprim), then governments have a right – indeed, a duty – to break up the monopoly and/or control the price.

  109. Martin Shkreli is perfect example of a pile of human excrement. His attitude and actions do exceptionally well representing evil in the world. A thoroughly deprecate human with too much money and too much power. You certainly would not want him as a ruler of your country.

  110. Extortion is generally defined as pricing an item or product that is essential to another person at a price that is difficult or impossible for them to pay. It can be either legal or illegal, depending on the circumstances, but is morally reprehensible either way. Whether it’s a bully on the school grounds taking someone’s glasses and demanding their lunch money to get them back, or an “entrepreneur” buying a patent on a medicine that is essential to control a deadly disease, and then jacking up the price, the conduct is appalling.

    And to justify it by saying it is legal is simply another condemnation of our legal system. Remedies for this situation, and others like it, are not generally to be found by modifying laws, but by people in general refusing to condone his behavior or associate with him, no matter how much money he may have. But since there appear to be plenty of people who are not appalled by his behavior, or who are more interested in getting access to his money than in standing for what is right, I don’t expect much to really change. Shkreli may well suffer some penalty of the law, but there are thousands (millions?) out there eager to follow in his footsteps, but more willing or able to hide their smirks.

  111. I believe there is a difference between ethical capitalism wherein Shreli is operating with the laws and rules of capitalism just as the Nazi doctors were ethical as they experimented on live humans. This should not be confused with moral capitalism which “allows for significant profit” to be gained for hard work and innovative thinking etc. Mr Shreli’s actions are unconscionable within the context of appropriate profit in the face of what effectively gives him a monopoly. I believe the best analogy for his actions is to a person having water for sale after a natural disaster.

  112. I also believe in freedom. If his company had invested millions, then the company should be able to charge whatever they want. But, if I understand correctly, another company invested millions (whatever) and had the pill down to $15 or so, then Shkreli’s company bought it out and arbitrarily raised the price horrendously–there is no justification for that. He should be hung, quartered and fed to the zoo animals. The reason people hate the free market is because of people like Shkreli. That’s, among other reasons, why we’re buried in regulations. Yep, let’s pass another bill stating that once a pharmaceutical company has gotten the price down to whatever price, the price cannot be raised if the company is bought by another company.

  113. I believe you’re wrong about his company spending millions on R&D for Daraprim. It was developed many, many years ago by another company. He simply bought the patent, and then raised the price. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. In any event he is a spoiled, greedy, and especially foolish brat, and clearly representative of many of his generation. (See “afluenza” kid.)

  114. All talk of individual freedoms aside, if you choose to raise the price of a commodity of any kind that people will die without beyond most of their ability to pay, you have crossed the line from capitalist to extortionist.

  115. I think poor Mr Shkreli is on a short road to nowhere. Note, I don’t mean poor in the financial sense. It is obvious by his pricing actions, and his twitter comments , what his thinking is and what his values are. But the real blowhole is the $2M album, and his threat to destroy it because he didn’t like the band member’s comment. Poor soul. Does he not have any family that can help him, did his parents give him all this money, they must have known what he is like, and his obvious weaknesses. It brings to mind a phrase I have heard used before in similar circumstances, “it’s like a six year old with a kalashnikov”. It won’t end well!

  116. Shkreli has a legal right but he should have a moral obligation and integrity to human beings that need this drug or any other drug to price it FAIRLY. That might mean an increase to pay for research but that doesn’t mean 100s time over what it had been selling for. He’s a despicable person who obviously is a spoiled brat used to getting what he wants, when he wants it and the hell with the rest of society and its rules.

  117. Neither Shkreli nor anyone else has the right to place a cost on an essential product that is arbitrary and only of benefit of the owner of the product. Society maintains competition between the different makers of products in order to prevent such arbitrary pricing. In this case, a monopoly was created that allowed this unethical pricing. If the system were working properly, Shkreli could not raise the price because no one would buy his drug. Under other situations, his act is called extortion and is clearly illegal.

  118. Brad, this is a classic exercise in philosophy and ethics courses: husband goes to pharmacy for medicine his wife will die without; druggist insists on price. Husband can’t pay, leaves and comes back later to steal the pills. Should the husband be prosecuted for theft? It’s telling, in our capitalist country, how many insist that the druggist should be punished. Without the right to charge whatever you want for your product and spend your money on whatever you want, you have no R&D, no patents for new wonder drugs – and no liberty. It’s cold to suggest that sick people might do without (capitalism), but suicide to insist that those who create solutions give away there capital and effort (communism).

  119. This piece of s**t deserves the hanging gallows. Better yet, a shot in the arm, of the AIDS virus!!!

  120. An excellent, balanced commentary Brad. This is a story with no good guys. On one side is an arrogant jerk whose attitude feeds raw meat to the left wing media. On the other side are, as this jerk correctly noted, imbeciles that are leading the US to ruin. Is there any other option for the people who need to take the drug that this jerk’s company manufactures?

  121. You, first class asshole of the third kind for completely ignoring all along in the defense of the situation in question that all products of any kind are subject to the ability to pay for them and should medical products be subject to the same law.

    It is a fact completely ignored by you that the product in question sold for $13.something (and the former owner had to have been making money out of it) before your now favorite asshole decided to sell it for a price that no one can afford and the only question, and that aspect of the situation in question was never even hinted at by you, in line with what you are all about as demonstrated by your latest inputs in what your field is all about.

    Max B. Dupont

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