Donald Trump has dismissed Martin Shkreli as a “spoiled brat” after the hedge fund manager hiked up the price of a life-saving drug used by patients with HIV and Aids.
The billionaire business magnate blasted the hedge fund manager for “sitting back smug like he was hot stuff” in the face of an international outcry when his start-up firm Turing Pharmaceuticals obtained the rights to Daraprim and raised the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.
Shkreli was dubbed "the most hated man in America" as anger from patients, health bodies and the public grew.
Daraprim is a medicine used to combat toxoplasmosis, a common food-borne parasitic infection that can prove deadly for those with compromised immune systems.
Turing bowed to international pressure and announced it would lower the price of the drug on Wednesday. It is not clear if Trump was aware of this announcement when he spoke to a press conference at the University of South Carolina Koger Centre.
The GOP frontrunner is known for taking a no-holds barred approach to insulting his opponents and critics, often by labelling them “idiots”, “morons” or “losers".
"This young guy raised the price to a level that’s absolutely ridiculous, and he looks like a spoiled brat to me,” he said in answer to a question about Shkreli. “And he’s a hedge fund guy […] and I thought it was a disgusting thing, what he did. I thought it was a disgrace.”
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
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4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
When the reporter suggested many drugs were bought and sold at unaffordable prices, he responded: "I know, it’s terrible, but in particular, there’s something about that one, the way he raised it and to that extent and then he sat back smug like he was hot stuff. That guy is nothing. He's zero. He's nothing. He ought to be ashamed of himself.”
Shkreli attempted to justify the dramatic price increase by saying newer versions of the drug needed to be developed and his was the first company “to really focus on this product” for decades, adding that research was extremely expensive.
He also claimed anyone who does not have insurance would have access to the drug for free. He told ABC News on Tuesday his company will reduce the price of Daraprim to make it affordable, although he did not state what the reduced price would be.