At Princeton, Shkreli offers to pay full tuition for math proof solver, gives another look at Daraprim

No protesters showed up at the talk. He voiced ambivalence for Obamacare repeal.

Turing Pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli offered to pay full tuition for solving a math problem, explained his perspective behind setting drug prices, and welcomed all to join him at Triumph Brewery at a packed house on Friday night at Princeton University. 

Despite having been disinvited in January by the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club due to strong student reactions, Shkreli did not draw any protestors during the event hosted by the Princeton Corporate Finance Club. Three P-Safe officers staffed the entirety of the event.

Security outside McDonnell Hall

Shkreli began his presentation with a geometry proof challenge. He then promised that he would pay the remaining tuition of anyone who correctly resolves the proof by the end of lecture. The quest drew a few enthusiasts who put in their bid throughout the talk.

“I feel it’s an analogy about people not making use of opportunities before them,” said one student audience after lecture. The student, who completed the math problem, said that it was not particularly challenging but a very small proportion of participants actually attempted it.

During his talk, Shkreli drew light to two perspectives when it comes to drug pricing. First, it is important to consider the duration that the drug must be taken for, he said. While a drug like Daraprim, which garnered much notoriety for Shkreli, only needs to be taken for about 40 days, other seemingly cheaper drugs may require a regular daily dose lasting for six years. The upfront cost may not tell the whole story, Shkreli explains, as drugs other than Daraprim may end up costing millions. Secondly, it is challenging for companies to sustain drug manufacturing for a small scope of consumers. The profit margin of a 400-people buyer pool can’t compare to that of a 4 million buyer pool.

In response to a question from The Tab about his views on the current congressional bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Shkreli expressed ambivalence. Trump had previously tweeted that he aims to lower drug prices with this new bill.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that Washington is sort of this crazy machine that nobody can understand. And whatever comes out of Trump’s or any president’s mouth, it’s 95 percent BS,” Shkreli said.

Shkreli at Princeton

Posted by Martin Shkreli on Friday, April 28, 2017

View full video of Shkreli’s talk

Featured image provided by courtesy of Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne

Princeton University