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Martin Shkreli, aka ‘Most Hated Man in America,’ offers tips to Donald Trump

February 16, 2017 GMT

“Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager who gained notoriety as the “Most Hated Man in America” after hiking the price of an important AIDS drug, went to Harvard last night to lay out the advice he hopes to give President Trump about lowering health care costs.

Although organizers tried to keep the public out of the event, dozens of demonstrators showed up to rail against the kind of greed in the pharmaceutical industry they say Shkreli embodies, and some made it inside.

“He was heckled — he made a joke about it,” said a student who attended, noting about 20 or 30 students walked out.

Moments before Shkreli was set to begin his talk, a fire alarm was pulled, prompting the evacuation of the building.

“People over profits,” the group chanted outside the front doors of the Harvard Science Center. “Fight back. Fight AIDS.”

Students who declined to give their names last night said Shkreli spoke to about 300 people, came off as amiable and intelligent, and said higher drug costs are necessary to maintain the pharmaceutical industry and make other drugs more readily available.

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Colin Killick, 26, who is studying public policy at the Kennedy school, called Shkreli a “vulture” who is “proud of sucking every last penny out of desperate people.” He was one of about 75 students who attended an alternative event in same building where Shkreli spoke.

Kostadin Petrov, a biomedical scientist at Harvard, called Shkreli a “lightning rod” for bigger problems in his field, including price-gouging and an eroding trust in science. He wondered what the student group saw in Shkreli.

“What do these kids think he has to teach them?” he asked.

Shkreli, 33, of New York, has been mired in scandal for most of his career. His former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought an anti-parasitic called Daraprim before hiking the pill’s price from $13 to $750. He was also indicted on federal securities fraud charges stemming from his time running a hedge fund.

Now out on bail, he needed a judge’s permission to leave New York.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Shkreli said he’s using his talks at Harvard last night and the Univeristy of Massachusetts Boston today to unveil “actionable suggestions President Trump can implement right now to dramatically lower health care costs, including prescription drugs.”

“If anyone knows the healthcare system, it’s me,” he wrote. “I will be sending my thoughts to our POTUS privately.”

A third talk planned for Monday at Webster Hall in New York City was canceled after threats were made about the event, Shkreli said.

Shkreli is slated to speak today at UMass Boston at an event hosted by the university’s pro-free-speech club, Young Americans for Liberty.

Protests are also expected at UMass prior to today’s appearance.