'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli released to halfway house in US

Shkreli became infamous for suddenly raising the price of an HIV drug by 5,000 per cent. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - So-called "Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli has been released from a Pennsylvania prison to a halfway house in New York state, the US Bureau of Prisons said on Wednesday (May 18).

Shkreli, who became a poster child for predatory pharmaceutical pricing before being convicted of securities fraud in 2017, was transferred on Wednesday from a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania to undisclosed "community confinement" in New York state, said a BOP spokesman in an email.

He is scheduled to be released from BOP's custody on Sept 14, the spokesman said.

Shkreli's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, confirmed the release, saying he was "pleased" to report that his client was let out early "after completing all programmes that allowed for his prison sentence to be shortened," according to a statement.

"While in the halfway house, I have encouraged Mr Shkreli to make no further statement, nor will he or I have any additional comments at this time."

Once dubbed "the most hated man in America," Shkreli, 39, became infamous for suddenly raising the price of the HIV drug Daraprim in 2015 by 5,000 per cent - from US$13.50 a pill to US$750.

Shkreli was originally sentenced in 2018 to seven years in prison in a fraud case not directly related to the Daraprim matter.

He has been in custody since September 2017.

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