The Donald is displeased. On Wednesday, Sept. 23, GOP front-runner Donald Trump added his (very indignant) voice to the growing number of public figures who are condemning pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli for raising the price of AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750.
“This young guy raised the price to a level that’s absolutely ridiculous, and he looks like a spoiled brat,” Trump told reporters during a South Carolina campaign stop. “And he’s a hedge-fund guy, who, as you know, [are] the only one[s] that I’m raising taxes on. They are going to be paying up. I thought it was a disgusting thing, what he did. I thought it was a disgrace.”
Trump, 69, also acknowledged that many other pharmaceutical companies are doing the same thing, but noted that what pushed him over the edge in this case was seeing Shkreli act “smug, like he was hot stuff,” during an interview with CBS.
“That guy is nothing. He’s zero. He’s nothing,” Trump continued. “He ought to be ashamed of himself. And I think, probably, at some point, the public is going to get him to reduce it somewhat, but I think what he did was a disgrace.”
The former hedge fund manager sat down for an interview with CBS’ Don Dahler on Tuesday, Sept. 22, and added fuel to the fire when he appeared unapologetic about his decision.
“I can see how it looks greedy,” he said on the morning program. “But it actually has a lot of altruistic properties.”
“Altruistic?” Dahler asked with raised eyebrows.
“This is a disease where there hasn’t been one pharmaceutical company focused on it for 70 years,” Shkreli responded with a smile. “We’re now a company that is dedicated to the treatment and cure of toxoplasmosis. And with these new profits we can spend all of that upside on these patients who sorely need a new drug, in my opinion.”
Shkreli, 32, acquired the U.S. marketing rights to Daraprim in August, and almost immediately jacked the price up by 5,500 percent. His move has caught media attention after numerous bold-faced names have spoken out in protest of his decision, which Shkreli admits is driven by capitalism.
On Monday, Sept. 21, Hillary Clinton responded to a New York Times article about the price hike calling the action “outrageous,” adding that she would come up with a plan to cap out-of-pocket payments for prescription medications.
Since backlash has grown in the past few days, Shkreli has backtracked a bit, locking his Twitter account and telling NBC News, “I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people.”
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!