Martin Shkreli has been subpoenaed to appear in a Congressional hearing about prescription drug market developments, according to reports from USA Today. The 32-year-old, who is best known for massive hikes on drug prices, will appear before the House Committee on Government and Oversight. The committee is investigating several companies for large increases in drug prices. Shkreli posted the two tweets below yesterday regarding the subpoena. This was his first tweeted response.
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
Below is her second tweet.
Found this letter. Looks important. pic.twitter.com/3Ws154SGM4— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) January 20, 2016
Shkreli may have little choice in the matter, as Congress can compel him to testify. A spokeswoman for panel chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) had this to say about his tweets.
“The Committee expects Mr. Shkreli to comply with the subpoena. He claims publicly that he wants to explain to Congress how drug pricing works. On Tuesday, he will get his chance.”
Shkreli’s resistance to appearing also drew comment from Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight committee.
The New York Post quotes him as saying, “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.”
As reported by the New York Times, Senator Susan Collins, who is the chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee of Aging, provided an update on that committee’s investigation. She reported that Shkreli had failed to comply with a subpoena they had issued, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to take action or provide testimony that could incriminate himself.
She tweeted, “Absent a valid justification for the grounds for invoking the Fifth Amendment, Mr. Shkreli’s assertion could hinder our investigation.”
Shkreli does have the right to invoke his Fifth Amendment right, according to remarks by Senator Claire McCaskill following Senator Collins. She stated that in spite of this right, the documents being sought have nothing to do with a criminal proceeding, so his assertion is not valid.
Turing Pharmaceuticals, which was formerly helmed by Shkreli, has been asked to provide documents related to Daraprim prior to the hearing. They were also asked to provide “copies of all documents previously produced” in response to requests from other government agencies.
In December, Martin Shkreli was indicted on charges of federal securities fraud. He is currently hiring new lawyers, and his defense team at Arnold & Porter filed for a postponement of his hearing appearance in order to give him time to do so. U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto granted the motion and adjourned the hearing until February 3. Others who are scheduled to appear, but not subpoenaed, include Dr. Janet Woodcock (director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research), Mark Merritt (president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association), Howard Schiller (interim CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International), and Nancy Retzlaff (chief commercial officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals).
It was under Shkreli’s watch at Turing Pharmaceuticals that the price of Daraprim, which treats toxoplasmosis, was raised from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill, a 5,000 percent price increase. He resigned on December 18, the day after being charged with securities fraud and wire fraud related to his activities as a hedge fund manager. Federal officials have described his activities as a sort of Ponzi scheme, in which he used funds from the biopharmaceuticals company he ran at the time (Retrophin) to pay off investors who were losing money in his hedge funds. Because Shkreli is currently in New York, a judge would have to sign off on his appearance before the Senate committee in order to avoid violation of his bail.
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]