One major figure has caught the attention of the FBI and now Congress
“Martin Shkreli will have to justify himself to the U. S. House of Representatives,” said a recent email from Citizen.org’s “Fight Pharma Ripoffs” initiative to its membership.
The email, a copy of which was obtained by the Deadly Prescription blog, announced that “The notorious poster boy for Big Pharma’s out-of-control price gouging has been ordered to attend a hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on January 26.”
The communique celebrated Shkreli’s finally having to answer to Congress for price-gouging schemes like the now-infamous jacking up of a life-saving medication from $13.50 to $750 a pill.
“But Shkreli is trying to weasel out of appearing by pleading the fifth,” said the Citizen.org email, which was linked to a petition demanding that Congress hold him accountable.
Meanwhile, Esquire.com noted that, “Resident New York City bad boy Martin Shkreli can’t stop making people mad. Unfortunately for Shkreli, those people keep getting more and more important. So we begin the political intrigue chapter of Pharma Bro’s tale.
“The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by representative Jason Chaffetz, ordered Shkreli to appear for a hearing next Thursday regarding his infamous decision to jack up prices of a lifesaving drug.
“Shkreli countered through his lawyers, saying he will not answer questions for the committee, according to Fortune. Because he is being tried on criminal charges (he orchestrated a separate ‘Ponzi-like scheme’ that led to his December arrest – busy man), Shkreli is arguing that the Fifth Amendment protects him from self-indictment. In other words, his testimony at a Congressional hearing could be used against him during a separate criminal trial, so he’s all like, ‘Nah bro, Marty don’t play that way.’
“Despite a bail limiting his movement to parts of New York, a judge today even granted him access to D.C. for the hearing, according to The Hill, though it is still unclear whether Shkreli will attend. A compromise could be reached, but if Shkreli does not show, Chaffetz is threatening prosecution for contempt, another criminal charge. Get popcorn,” Esquire.com advised.
Other pharmaceutical CEOs are likely relieved that so much attention is now focused on this one young malefactor. However, physicians and patients in particular ought not be sated by Shkreli’s downfall, even if he ends up going to jail. The prescription drug crisis in America can hardly be narrowed to one – or even several bad actors. It’s a multi-faceted problem involving not only pricing, but safety and efficacy as well.
“Tell congressional leaders not to let Shkreli weasel out of appearing before them and answering their questions. Thank you for taking action,” concluded the Fight Pharma Ripoffs email.
On January 25th, the day before Shkreli was scheduled to testify, he was granted a reprieve (of sorts) – the House Committee postponed the hearing due to the inclement weather in the Northeast, the Washington Times reported. The new hearing date for the brash former CEO is February 4th.