domingo, 11 de marzo de 2018

Martin Shkreli, “pharma bro”, sentenced to seven years in prison

Martin Shkreli, “pharma bro”, sentenced to seven years in prison


Martin Shkreli, “pharma bro”, sentenced to seven years in prison
Notorious former pharmaceutical executive and social media personality Martin Shkreli has been sentenced to seven years in prison, after being found guilty of defrauding investors.
On Friday, Shkreli wept in court as district court judge Kiyo Matsumoto handed down the sentence, which was more lenient than than the 15 years that prosecutors hoped for, but more severe than the 18 months requested by the defence.  
Shkreli was the co-founder of several hedge funds, the founder of biotech company Retrophin and the founder of the pharmaceutical company Turing Pharmaceuticals. He received widespread criticism in 2015 after he raised the price of the HIV-AIDS drug Daraprim by a factor of 56 (from $13.50US to $750US).
The crimes for which Shrekli was convicted -- two counts of securities fraud and one count of consiring to commit securities fraud -- were unrelated to the Daraprim controversy.
Judge Matsumoto questioned Shkreli’s remorse, citing some of the 34 year-old’s social media antics following his conviction. Shkreli’s bail was revoked in September after he offered his online followers a $5,000 bounty if they could obtain a lock of Hillary Clinton’s hair.
The judge also ordered Shkreli to forfeit $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets, including a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted of buying for $2 million.
Shkreli told the court that he was very sorry for his actions, and apologised to his investors.
"I am terribly sorry I lost your trust," he said. "You deserve far better."

A recent US documentary recounts the story of an Oregon couple who committed suicide together in April 2017. The couple, Charlie and Francie Emerick, had both been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. They felt that, after having been married and together for some sixty odd years, it was only fitting that they exit this world as a couple.

Talk of “fittingness” in the context of death draws our attention to a broader topic, namely, the aesthetics of death. Just as we seek beauty in life, so also do we seek beauty in death.

There is a certain beauty to ending the narrative arc of our lives with a “fitting” poetic flourish. And in the context of euthanasia, it seems that many cases are underpinned by a desire not just for a peaceful death, but a beautiful death.

In 2016, a 41-year-old Californian multi-media and performance artist, Betsy Davis, ended her life with lethal medication. Davis wanted her suicide to be a “final act” in her artistic career, and she organised an elaborate weekend of celebrations and performances before consuming the lethal dose on a canopy bed by a hillside.

I wonder if, in seeking a beautiful death, we should look the wisdom the ages, rather than following our own artistic intuitions. The 15th century Latin tract Ars Moriendi provides persons in extremis with guidance for a good death. It encourages readers to face death bravely, to avoid temptations to despair, impatience or pride, and to surround oneself with those loved ones who, in life, have brought joy to one’s soul.

I’m not sure that the authors of the text had assisted suicide in mind when they outlined the elements of the ars moriendi.

Deputy Editor

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