Let’s Not Pretend Vivek Ramaswamy’s Anything More than Dirty Cash Personified

William Keckler
4 min readAug 26, 2023

This is just a short post to encourage people to look more closely into the business dealings of presidential candidate Ramaswamy’s company Roivant and how he misled investors and the public about the “promise” of an Alzheimer’s drug known as intepirdine. Ramaswamy was then C.E.O. of Roivant but he stepped down to the role of Chairman in 2021. He separated from the company earlier this year to pursue a much bigger pot of gold: the American presidency.

That Forbes article I just linked is far too kind (and gullible) in interpreting that relatively short-con cash grab with a clear “dud drug” as scientific naivete. Ramaswamy holds at least one advanced degree in biology and had been succeeding in the biotech industry for some time when he perpetrated that fraud in plain sight. And that plan passed before many other eyes and through many other dirty hands at Roivant. He (and they) knew that any working Alzheimer’s drug was the Holy Grail of the pharmaceutical industry. So he “created” a fake solution when all the data told anyone who cared to do the research this drug had been vetted and failed. He took a big gamble and won. His investors lost. He did the “Mea Culpa” chest-beating and donned Forbes sackcloth but he kept the loot. The interpidine hoax wasn’t about how smart Ramaswamy is. It was about how dumb and hopelessly gullible other people are. (Are you getting any Trumpian vibes yet?)

Ramaswamy should have been investigated at that point. It was clearly not any sort of scientific naivete. There was simply no evidence whatsoever to sell that drug to investors as a good bet. This shows the sort of bad faith one should expect from someone who became a billionaire in the unethical realm of hedge funds. America, stop looking for a president in the financial worlds of naked greed. America will just be seen as a cash grab to these people. And we will all suffer terribly. We’re still in a black hole of Calcutta from Trump’s complete lack of leadership.

Ramaswamy in the first Republican debate was doing exactly what Ramaswamy was doing at Roivant. He was throwing at the crowd (this time Republican voters) whatever he knows they are most ready to swallow. This time he’s telling us he will dissolve seventy-five percent of the government, he will pardon Trump on day one (umm, are those charges all federal and pardonable?), he will pretend climate change is not real so that big business might destroy any possibility of a sustainable environment in which we and the rest of the world must live, etc. etc. But the “right” people will get richer and the “wrong” people (read the 99 percent) will shoulder the burden so it’s Republicanism as Normalized by Reagan.

Ramaswamy is not what a real candidate with values looks like or sounds like. This is another snake oil salesman coming down the pike, fawning in worship over the last snake oil salesman who bungled every significant challenge he faced in the White House but is still raking in cash. How can Vivek not salivate at that? Bettering the nation, bad. Cult of personality, good. The media needs to stop going with clickbait tactics by hyping how well flash-in-the-pan Ramaswamy is doing in polls. They need to start doing what journalists used to do and dig into his past. The sore thumb elements of his seedy history will start to jump out at any real journalists who put in the legwork. I’m sure the Alzheimer’s cash grab was not a singular or black swan event in Ramaswamy’s life. He’s another billionaire creep. Time to dig in his creepy backyard.

I watched the Republican debates and I thought the straightest shooter on the stage was Nikki Haley. But then the next day in interviews she stated her belief that “65 is way too young to retire.” I encourage anyone interested in this political position to visit some of the YouTube videos covering this Haley interview and read the comments by real, actual Americans who want to remind Haley that a life of physical labor is not exactly conducive to working past the age of seventy. And it seems the new strategy is to get Americans to pay into a system allegedly designed to benefit them in old age and then arrange that system so that they die before they can ever avail themselves of that “investment” in their future. But then I suspect she is as out of touch with reality as most of the others sharing that debate stage with her.

At least one has to give Haley credit for dissecting some of the rah-rah jingoistic lies and “promises” made in bad faith by other candidates. She lucidly explained why a federal abortion ban (at whatever week) could not pass in Congress. She did the math on stage. And she shot down the barbaric notion that it’s okay to prosecute and lock up women who get abortions. She honestly owned that fellow Republican Trump was a spendthrift president who worsened our economy through his plutocratic policies. Haley looks like a realist and realistic possibility for Republicans, but they will never see it because they have mainlined the Trump drug and now feel they need a rabid foaming-at-the-mouth sociopath 2.0 to lead the party. Enter Vivek.

But then I’m just looking and not window-shopping. The only Republican that could ever get my vote would be Abraham Lincoln. And I don’t think he’ll be on the ticket anytime soon unless someone has saved some Abe DNA somewhere and has plans to clone and run him. If so, please hurry up. We need that guy again.

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William Keckler

Writer, visual artist. Books include Sanskrit of the Body, which won in the U.S. National Poetry Series (Penguin). https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532348.