News / USA

    Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers Lawmakers

    Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakersi
    X
    February 05, 2016 6:15 AM
    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Zlatica Hoke

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent.

    Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. The 32-year-old received a subpoena to appear before the hearing after his former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, the drug used for treating AIDS and certain types of cancer, from $13.50 to $750 per pill.

    When the price for Daraprim went up sharply in August of last year, the general public, politicians and even industry officials reacted with outrage. The price was increased shortly after Turing, under Shkreli's leadership, bought the patent for the drug. U.S. lawmakers and the Federal Trade Commission are now investigating whether the company violated anti-trust laws.

    Fifth Amendment

    On Wednesday, Shkreli refused to cooperate.

    "On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question," Shkreli said.

    Furthermore, the former hedge fund manager appeared to be smirking at lawmakers, which prompted his removal from the hearing.

    Shkreli's lawyer later tried to justify his behavior.

    "Some of what you saw was nervous energy by an individual who very much would like to explain what happened, but has agreed to listen to his lawyer," Shkreli's attorny, Ben Brafman, said.

    But Shkreli's Twitter message later in the day showed only contempt for Congress.

    "He had a wonderful opportunity to do what he said he wanted to do, which was educate Congress on drug pricing and he skipped it. So, I guess he wasn't all that interested in educating us after all," Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said.

    Turing and other companies selling expensive drugs say much of the revenues are invested in research and development of new life-saving drugs. Asked about the morality of making the Daraprim price unaffordable to many critically ill patients, a Truing representative said the company also invests in "patient access programs."

    "We didn't want the price increase to disadvantage patients in any way," Turing's Nancy Retzlaff said.

    Rejected claims

    But some lawmakers came well prepared to reject such claims.

    "They (the pharmaceutical companies) will downplay their massive profits by claiming that they help patients who can't afford their exorbitant prices. The testimony from the drug companies today will be the same. But the difference now is that we've seen behind their smoke screen," Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland said.

    Analysts say Shkreli's behavior will hurt the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

    "I think it definitely angered a lot of people. And, what's unfortunate is this is going to raise calls for price control in pharmaceuticals more generally," said Yevgeniy Feyman of the Manhattan Institute.

    Shkreli is facing charges of securities fraud in two other companies.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: lone eagle from: Bangkok, Thailand
    February 08, 2016 12:04 PM
    There is nothing unusual about Martin Shkreli's behavior or his opinion of US Congressmen except he made it public. Shkreli is the "public be damned face" of the American laissez faire capitalistic system that will use lobbyists and Citizen's United to further enrich the system at the expense of the American people.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora