Make us your home page

Shkreli invokes the Fifth Amendment in House appearance

Martin Shkreli, the former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, reacts as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks during a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday in Washington.

New York Times

Martin Shkreli, the former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, reacts as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks during a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday in Washington.

In a testy exchange with lawmakers, Martin Shkreli declined to testify before a House committee Thursday about his actions in increasing the price of a decades-old drug fiftyfold overnight.

Shkreli, who left Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drug company he started, after being indicted on federal securities fraud charges in December, repeatedly exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, angering various members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"I don't think I've ever seen the committee treated with such contempt," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said after Shkreli was excused and left the room.

Shkreli did answer "yes'' when Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., asked him if he had pronounced his name properly.

The theatrics surrounding Shkreli's appearance, which included his smirking at some remarks by committee members and calling them "imbeciles" on Twitter after he left the hearing, overshadowed the discussion about huge overnight increases in the prices of old drugs by Turing and another company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

Under Shkreli, Turing acquired the rights to Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug for a parasitic infection, and raised the price fiftyfold to $750 a pill.

Valeant has increased the price of numerous old drugs, but the House committee has focused on two heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress.

Howard B. Schiller, interim CEO of Valeant, rationalized the substantial increases in the prices of the two heart drugs by arguing that the company would merely be taking money from hospitals, not hurting patients. At the hearing, Schiller said the company now recognized that it had been too aggressive on certain pricing decisions and acknowledged public concern.

Shkreli invokes the Fifth Amendment in House appearance 02/04/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2016 7:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater attorney accused of condo foreclosure trickery fights back

    Real Estate

    The Clearwater lawyer accused of tricking a bidder into paying $458,100 for a gulf-front condo now plans to contest a judge's order tossing out the sale.

    John Houde, left, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground, in August during a hearing Sixth Judicial Circuit court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse. The judge agreed with Houde's allegation that he was duped by Skelton in thinking he bought a Redington Beach condo for $458,100 out of a foreclosure auction. Now Skelton is fighting back. 
  2. How a group of Florida tomato growers could help derail NAFTA


    Tony DiMare, a third-generation Florida tomato grower, has spent two decades contending with cheap Mexican imports, watching his neighbors abandon crops in their fields and sell off their farms when they couldn't match the price of incoming produce.

    Workers fill a trailer with tomatoes as they harvest them in the fields of DiMare Farms in Florida City. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images(2013)]
  3. Pinellas deputies go door-to-door at dawn to arrest unlicensed contractors


    Pinellas deputies began pounding on doors at 5 a.m. Tuesday, part of a widespread roundup of contractors accused of working without licences and workers compensation.

    Pinellas Sheriff deputies J. Short, left, and T. Festa, right, arrest suspect Randy Ronchi, center, in Largo early Tuesday, as part of a joint roundup of unlicensed contractors. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  4. HQ2 watch: As deadline looms for Amazon headquarters pitch, one metro bows out


    If there's one national business saga to keep up on these days, it's the frenzy by metropolitan areas — including Tampa Bay — to make their best pitches to Amazon in the hope of being chosen as the new location for the giant online retailer's second massive headquarters. HQ2, as it is called, would create …

    Cities across the country are trying to land Amazon's second headquarters, known as HQ2. In Birmingham, Ala., giant Amazon boxes were constructed and placed around the city as part of its "Bring A to B" campaign. [Ali Clark/Bring A to B Campaign]
  5. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report


    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]