Martin Skhreli mocks Congressional subpoena
Martin Skhreli, the hedge fund manager turned pharma executive who is infamous for raising a drug’s price 5000 percent overnight, is now refusing to cooperate with two Congressional inquiries into drug prices.
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Skhreli invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to provide documents related to pricing subpoenaed by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The committee has been investigating four companies with recent massive price hikes on older drugs: Turing, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin, and Rodelis Therapeutics. Retrophin reportedly raised the price of Thiola, a kidney drug, from $1.50 to $30 per tablet while Rodelis jacked the price of a tuberculosis drug more than 2,000 percent.
The committee, led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), sent letters late last year to the companies requesting information about why they raised the drug’s prices. When the companies didn’t cooperate, they sent subpoenas for documents about pricing data.
Skhreli has been subpoenaed to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on February 4. The hearing will examine drug pricing and the FDA’s Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) backlog. In keeping with his narcissistic pattern of behavior, Skhreli’s already been mocking the process and hinting on Twitter that he may or may not show up at the hearing.
House busy whining to healthcare reporters about me appearing for their chit chat next week. Haven’t decided yet. Should I? @RepCummings
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) January 20, 2016
“I have been trying for the better part of a year to get information from Martin Shkreli about his outrageous price increases, and he has obstructed our investigation at every turn,” said Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the oversight committee. “He claims publicly that he wants to explain to Congress how drug pricing works. On Tuesday, he will get his chance.”
Skhreli appeared in court January 20 on unrelated federal securities fraud charges. He is alleged to have illegally used Retrophin stocks to repay investors from his failing hedge fund. He maintains his innocence, recently fired his entire legal team, and is currently is out on $5 million bond.
Despite his egregious and arrogant actions, the spectacle Skhreli has created—and continues to encourage—around drug prices may ultimately be just what Congress needs to spur some action on this issue.
The hearing will be livestreamed from the House Oversight website. Skhreli is expected to appear (he’ll face contempt charges if he doesn’t) but he’s likely to plead the Fifth so that he doesn’t have to answer potentially incriminating questions.
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
“Developments in the Prescription Drug Market: Oversight”
February 4 – 9:00 am
2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Witness list: Martin Shkreli of Turing, Nancy Retzlaff of Turing, Howard Shiller from Valeant, Mark Merritt from the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and Dr. Janet Woodcock from the FDA.