Martin Shkreli Ordered By Congress To Testify In Rising Drug Price Case

By McCarton Ackerman 01/25/16

The world's most hated pharma executive may take the stand before Congress.


Before Martin Shkreli takes the stand to address the pending federal securities fraud charges, he’ll be heading to court for a different case. Congress has served him a subpoena and ordered him to testify on Tuesday in a case on rapid rises in drug prices.

The subpoena is ordering Shkreli to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. However, it’s not unclear whether he will even appear for the case. He told a New York Times reporter who asked him via email if he would be attending that, “I made it clear that you are not to contact me ever again.” Shkreli also tweeted later that day, “House busy whining to health care reporters about me appearing for their chitchat next week. Haven’t decided yet. Should I?”

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform confirmed last November that their investigation on rising drug costs would focus on two companies in particular, one of them being Turing Pharmaceuticals, which Shkreli formerly served as CEO for until stepping down last month. Shkreli angered just about everyone last September when he hiked the price of life-saving AIDS medication Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill, a 5,455% increase. He announced a few days later that he would lower the price of the drug “in response to the anger that was felt by people,” but has yet to move forward with this promise.

But Shkreli has plenty of other issues to deal with. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted on the fraud charges against him. After posting $5 million bail, he told TIME shortly after that flaunting himself to the media since the Daraprim scandal may have contributed to his arrest. He also claimed that he was targeted by authorities due to his social pariah status after the Daraprim price hike, rather than fraud and greed.

“Beating the person up and then trying to find the merits to make up for it—I would have hoped the government wouldn’t take that approach,” he said. Shkreli went on to describe his arrest as a “real injustice.” But since then, he has refused to keep a low profile and even promotes live chats via his Twitter account.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.