Daily Archives: September 21, 2015

Profits before people: Ex-hedge funder who hiked AIDS pill cost by 5,500 percent says drug ‘still underpriced’

Appearing on Bloomberg TV, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company that recently hiked the price of a drug used for critically ill infants and AIDS patients by 5,500 percent , defended the price increase by promising better things to come for future patients.

Martin Shkreli, 32, the founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, recently purchased the rights to Daraprim and immediate increased the cost from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

Asked why the huge increase in cost, Shkreli explained that the old companies who owned the drug were “practically giving it away almost,” and he needs to turn a profit.

Noting that the pill sold for $13.50 and the course of treatment “to save your life was only a $1,000,” Shrkeli said he had to make a change.

“We know, these days, in modern pharmaceuticals, cancer drugs can cost $100,000 or more, whereas these drugs can cost a half of a million dollars,” he explained. “Daraprim is still under-priced relative to its peers.”

Asked if the pill really only costs $1 to manufacture, Shkreli agreed and said, “It costs very little to make Daraprim.”

Shkreli then listed off manufacturing, distribution, and FDA costs as well as paying the people “who make it to specifications.”

Pressed even further on the $750 cost per pill, the CEO defended the price by noting how much it brought into the pharmaceutical company annually.

“This drug was making $5 million in revenue,” he said with a smile. “And I don’t think you can find a drug company on this planet that can make money on $5 million in revenue.”

Read on.

HKEX’s Li Says He Followed Hiring Procedures at JPMorgan

  • Li issued statement in response to Wall Street Journal article
  • Li said he can’t recall specifics of hires made before 2009

Charles Li, the chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., said he followed internal hiring procedures in his former role as the China chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The statement from Li came in response to a report in the Wall Street Journal Monday which said he had recommended the bank employ children and acquaintances of Chinese officials during his time at JPMorgan, citing people familiar with the matter and emails it said had been written by him.

Read on.

Income inequality: Hundreds of full-time NY city workers are homeless

Angelo Torres punches in to work at 5 a.m. each weekday and spends the next eight hours cleaning up debris on Staten Island’s Midland Beach.

It’s a grueling job, says the veteran Parks Department maintenance worker, but also a welcome escape from the uncertainty of living on the streets as one of the city’s more than 300 full-time workers who are homeless.

“I cry every night thinking this isn’t really happening, but it is,” Torres, 45, told The Post.

He made a plea to Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Please help us.”

Torres earns $33,662 a year but says it’s not enough to find four walls and a roof to call his own in a city where, according to StreetEasy, the median rent is $2,690 a month.

So he has spent the past four months living out of his beat-up 2001 Chevy Blazer with tinted windows. He has two small bags of belongings to his name.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Take a shower and wash your clothes!’ They don’t know what is going on. It hurts a lot. I work for the city. I never thought this would happen to me,” he said.

Torres’ run of hard luck began three years ago, when Hurricane Sandy destroyed his apartment in Staten Island’s New Dorp Beach. He lived with a girlfriend, but they broke up, and the split left him penniless, he says.

Read on.

Feds Shed More Light on Study of Bush-Era Spying

Developing story…

WASHINGTON (CN) – Intelligence officials have revealed measures President George W. Bush took to assuage upset over his approval of surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Released Friday in response to a New York Times lawsuit, the admissions come in the latest version of a 746-page doorstopper that Office of Inspector General first published in July 2009.
Redactions still pepper the three-volume report, which closes with criticism of the Bush surveillance program dubbed “Stellar Wind.”
Former Justice Department attorney Thomas Tamm tipped off The New York Times to Stellar Wind as an anonymous whistleblower, in 2005.
Tamm’s role was confirmed and he started speaking out publicly in 2008.

Here is the OIG report. Click here.

Source: Courthouse News

Former Morgan Stanley Adviser Pleads Guilty to Taking Client Data

A former Morgan Stanley financial adviser pleaded guilty Monday to accessing client data and taking it home with him.

Federal prosecutors charged Galen Marsh, who was fired by the Wall Street firm in January after some of the information appeared online with an offer to sell a bigger cache, with one count of exceeding authorized access to a computer.

According to court documents, Mr. Marsh allegedly made more than 5,000 unauthorized searches of confidential client information on the firm’s computer systems using the identification numbers of other Morgan Stanley branches, groups and advisers, beginning in June 2011. He uploaded the data, which included client names, addresses, account numbers and investment information, to a personal server in his New Jersey home, the prosecutors alleged.

Read on.

The CFPB just made it easier to get a mortgage in rural, underserved areas

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized several changes to its mortgage rules to expand access to credit to small creditors, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

The rule was proposed in January and geared to increase the number of financial institutions able to offer certain types of mortgages in rural and underserved areas.

“The financial crisis was not caused by community banks and credit unions, and our mortgage rules reflect the fact that small institutions play a vital role in many communities,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “These changes will help consumers in rural or underserved areas access the mortgage credit they need, while still maintaining these important new consumer protections.”

After the new the CFPB issued several mortgage rules back in January 2013 and May 2013, which includes the Ability-to-Repay rule, it was clear that it deeply impacted small creditors, as well as small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas.

Read on.

U.S. Treasury Department veteran misled a federal court three years when he stated that “the government did not know Fannie and Freddie were about to return to profitability”

Sounds like U.S. Treasury veteran should be charged with perjury and making a false statement.The question is will the DOJ pursue charges against him.

Housingwire:

A U.S. Treasury Department “veteran” bureaucrat misled a federal court three years when he stated that “the government did not know Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were about to return to profitability,” according to a recent article in the New York Post based on legal documents in the Fairholme trial.

The bureaucrat in question is Mario Ugoletti, who played a key role in creating the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements, which were later amended to become the Net Worth Sweep.

The Post article says that Ugoletti’s “sworn statement” on Dec. 17, 2013, in which he is denying FHFA and Treasury knew the GSEs were about to turn profitable, is contradicted by others. The article highlights the coincidental timing of events:

More than a year earlier, when losses at the two companies were forecast far into the future, the government moved to sweep any possible future Fannie and Freddie profits into Treasury’s coffers.

But just weeks after the sweep, both Fannie and Freddie returned to profitability — and now lawyers for Fairholme, citing recently uncovered evidence, claim the official was not being honest.

The FHFA’s Ugoletti, in a sworn statement to the federal court on Dec. 17, 2013, denied that the FHFA and Treasury knew accounting losses would soon be reversed when the sweep occurred.

But Susan McFarland, the Fannie chief financial officer who was there in 2012 when the decisions were made, disputes Ugoletti’s statements, Fairholme lawyers said in their Aug. 19 filing.