So, what do you think? Should Martin Shkreli, the indicted former CEO at Turing Pharmaceuticals, do what a congressional committee has bid and testify next Tuesday about “outrageous price increases” in the pharmaceutical industry, as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) would have it?
Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) himself would like to know, tweeting yesterday: “House busy whining to health care reporters about me appearing for their chitchat next week. Haven’t decided yet. Should I?”
He also mockingly posted a snapshot of the Jan. 11 subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on which Cummings is the ranking Democrat, with the comment: “Found this letter. Looks important.”
That tweet is embedded in a story by Sarah Ferris of The Hill, who reminds us that “Shkreli rose to national prominence after he was featured in a front-page New York Times story for raising up the cost of a life-saving drug by more than 5,000% overnight. The same outlet first reported on Wednesday that he received the subpoena.”
Indeed, the Times’ Martin Goldstein points out “whether on Twitter, in online streaming videos or in interviews with the news media, Mr. Shkreli, a New York businessman, has shown little reserve when it comes to discussing the pending federal securities fraud charges against him, or his rationale for increasing the price of a decades-old drug by more than 5,000% at a pharmaceutical company he ran until last month.”
As for Goldstein himself, Shkreli’s response to a request for comment on whether he would comply with the subpoena by writing in an email, was, “I made it clear that you are not to contact me ever again.”
Who would have thought that saying outrageous things would garner so much attention?
The 32-year-old former hedge fund manager resigned as CEO of Turing, which he founded and ran, after he was arrested in New York last month and charged with securities fraud and conspiracy related to another pharmaceutical company he previously ran called Retrophin, the AP reminds us on a Fox News page that includes an old Shepard Smith interview with a Wall Street Journal editor about that paper’s exclusive interview with Shkreli last month.
Shkreli claimed to reporter Rob Copeland that his arrest was related to the price increases. He also asserted that his “behavior has been ‘a bit of an act.’”
“What do you do when you have the attention of millions of people? It seemed to me like it would be fun to experiment with,” he said.
“For all the hate, ‘the most hated man in the world’ can’t find someone who actually hates him,” he said in an interview with Fox 5 New York over the weekend, Emily Jane Fox reports in a Vanity Fair piece in which she also recounts one of his sessions on the video chatroom site Blab. “Attention is not something I’m desperate for or crave, but if it’s there, and I don’t have to work for it. If I send one tweet out and it drives people crazy, why not?”
Oh, and this is his YouTube livestream chat link where, he tweets, he streams “practically every day.”
Shkreli pleaded not guilty to the fraud and conspiracy charges and is free on $5 million bail. Earlier this week, he fired his legal team, the D.C.-based political powerhouse Arnold & Porter and received a two-week delay for a date in federal court in Brooklyn originally scheduled for yesterday, the New York Daily News’ Nicole Hensley reports.
Shkreli has “invoked the Fifth Amendment in refusing to produce documents subpoenaed by a Senate committee,” by the way, which the panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted “could hinder our investigation,” NBC News reports.
Writing for the New York Times’ “Upshot” section, health economist Austin Frakt earlier this week provided evidence that, if history be our guide, “the mere threat of government price controls may have a moderating effect on drug prices.”
Between January 1992 and October 1993, as Hillary Clinton’s “Health Care Task Force” was considering drug price regulations, research by economist Sara Fisher Ellison and Catherine Wolfram, shows “that large, brand-name drug firms tended to keep drug price growth close to that of overall inflation during this period of political examination.”
While we’re being historical, it was song-and-dance man George M. Cohan who most famously said, “I don't care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.”