Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, appears before a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in this file picture taken February 4, 2016. Reuters/Joshua Roberts/

Former Hedge Fund Manager Martin Shkreli, popularly called “Pharma Bro,” shot to notoriety last year after his company bought the rights to life-saving drug Daraprim and raised its priced by over 5,000 percent in the US. Even after Shkreli later reduced the price of the drug, he still remained in public eye since then.

To show that the pricing of Shkreli’s drug was exorbitant, a group of eleven school boys from Sydney Grammar School, aged between 16 and 17, recreated the active ingredient of the drug at a shoestring budget in their school’s laboratory. Under the guidance of research chemist Alice Williamson and Associate Professor Matthew Todd, the students succeeded in making the drug for mere US$2 (AU$2.70) a pill.

Now, after the news broke out that Australian school boys recreated his drug at a cheap rate, Shkreli rose to limelight once again and became the target of many people on social media. Interestingly, Shkreli responded to the tweets that criticised how he had monopolised the drug, and later released a 55-second video, in which he is seen boasting of his own achievements.

Thereafter, in another tweet, he defended his stance saying that “lab scale manufacturing” and “manufacturing costs millions to maintain.”

One of the other students, Leonard Milan told The Guardian that Shkreli “saying to us that anyone could do what we could do is certainly true."

“If you follow his overpriced method using toxic chemicals in an industrial lab it’s easy. But the fact that we were able to substitute some really toxic gasses with simple school-available chemicals and do it so cheaply demonstrates the absurdity of some of his justifications for the price.”

Furthermore, Milan called Shkreli “an attention-seeking businessman” who forgets “that there are people’s lives and livelihoods at stake.”

Daraprim is a life-saving drug that is used in the treatment of some types of malaria and toxoplasmosis, a rare life-threatening infection which is caused by Toxoplasma parasite that particularly affects people with low immune systems, including those with HIV.