If there were a race to the bottom when it comes to popularity, the United States Congress and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli would be neck-and-neck. Now, in an exclusive non-pay-per-view event, the American public may get to see the two square off in a steel cage death match, of sorts. The potential face off comes courtesy of a congressional subpoena served to the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, who was also charged with securities fraud last month.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has summoned Shkreli for a hearing on prescription drug pricing next Tuesday. Shkreli, you may recall, knows a thing or two about the prescription drug market; Turing exploited gaps in the market for older drugs by buying them up and jacking up their prices. Shkreli shot into public view when his company bought the 62-year-old drug Daraprim, used by AIDS and cancer patients, and raised the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill.
Shkreli responded this way on Wednesday, proving he has not had a personality overhaul since we last heard from him:
Given that Shkreli is currently facing criminal charges, one might expect the 32-year-old to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But Shkreli has not been one to shy away confrontation or cameras. Also, the New York Times points out, “[a]rguably, there may be no legal risk to Mr. Shkreli in testifying about large price increases in the drug industry. The federal securities charges against him involve accusations that he defrauded investors in two former hedge funds he ran and are unrelated to accusations of price gouging by Turing, his former company.” Shkreli did, however, invoke the Fifth Amendment Wednesday in refusing to turn over documents in a simultaneous Senate investigation on drug pricing.