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U.S. FTC focuses on deal with Japanese firm in Martin Shkreli trial over price hike

In the Shkreli trial, the US Federal Trade Commission is concentrating on a contract with a Japanese corporation.
Martin Shkreli
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The US Federal Trade Commission began the civil trial of Vyera Pharmaceuticals founder Martin Shkreli on Tuesday, questioning a company executive about a transaction with a Japanese supplier that the FTC said helped Vyera preserve its monopoly on the life-saving medicine Daraprim.

The FTC and other states in the United States have accused Shkreli of employing illegal techniques to keep competitors out of the market for Daraprim after raising its price from $17.50 to $750 per tablet in 2015, a move that earned him the moniker "Pharma Bro." The six-day non-jury trial will be held before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan federal court.

The FTC began by contacting Vyera's head of research and development, Nicholas Pelliccione. Pelliccione said that Vyera's 2017 exclusivity agreement with Japan's Fukuzyu Pharmaceutical Co, the sole US supplier of Daraprim's active ingredient, prevented other manufacturers from acquiring the substance.

He did not feel, however, that this was the "primary reason" for the agreement.

Shkreli, who is already serving a seven-year jail sentence for securities fraud in a separate case, will not be present at the trial. Vyera reached a $40 million settlement with the FTC and the states last week.

Shkreli's lawyers said in a court filing last year that the allegations concerning his personal involvement in the alleged plan were "vague, conclusory, and not supported by specific factual assertions."

Daraprim was acquired from Impax Laboratories Inc by Vyera, which was created in 2014 as Turing Pharmaceuticals. Toxoplasmosis is a parasite infection that poses a concern to persons who have weaker immune systems.

Vyera allegedly prevented generic drugmakers from receiving samples to manufacture their own versions of Daraprim, according to the FTC and states. Last year, the first generic version was approved.

Source: Reuters

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