Martin Shkreli gained notoriety in the medical industry after a widely publicized decision to increase the price of a decades-old drug by more than 5,000 percent in September 2015. Mr. Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from $13.50 a tablet to $750 overnight. The businessman’s move attracted the ire of many, and media outlets quickly dubbed Shkreli the most hated man in America.
The Daraprim price hike received the most publicity, but Shkreli has been accused of other misconduct, including securities and wire fraud. In December he was indicted on seven counts of fraud, after which he resigned as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Prosecutors allege that he defrauded investors to the tune of $11 million by plundering funds from his own pharmaceutical company, Retrophin, to pay off investors in two hedge funds. The alleged scheme included hedge funds MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare, and Mr. Shkreli was released on a $5 million bond the same day.
Now the former hedge fund manager has appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Throughout his congressional hearing, Mr. Shkreli uttered a single phrase: “On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.” This stance visibly angered those lawmakers exploring escalating drug costs.
Shkreli’s saga has raised concerns about price regulation and overall scrutiny of the pharmaceutical industry.