Infamous “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli wants a three month “furlough” of his seven-year sentence for securities fraud to work on research aimed at curing the coronavirus. In a paper posted online this week, Shkreli wrote that he believes the biopharmaceutical industry’s response to the pandemic has been “inadequate” and claimed he was “one of the few executives experienced in ALL aspects of drug development[.]” “I am asking for a brief furlough (3 months) to assist in research work on COVID-19. Being released to the post-COVID world is no solace to even the incarcerated,” he wrote. “For the avoidance of doubt, I have not been paid for any work on this matter or any other matter while incarcerated. I do not expect to profit in any way, shape or form from coronavirus-related treatments.”
Christie Smythe, a journalist penning a book on Shkreli, told STAT News that Shkreli’s author statement in the paper was authentic and it was for a “research project he’s been working on, not for any profit motive.” The rest of the paper, co-authored by two of Shkreli’s business partners and two others, claims they have used software to identify eight drugs that could be useful in fighting COVID-19.