It is not exactly like the apocryphal story of President Gerald Ford telling a bankrupt New York City to “Drop dead,” but “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli has told members of Congress who want to grill him over price gouging that they’ll have to subpoena him before he’ll appear.
According to Business Insider, the former hedge funder turned pharma CEO who has become the face of pharmaceutical corporate greed is refusing to turn over information to a Congressional committee looking at drug pricing and won’t testify unless legally compelled.
In a letter sent to both houses of Congress, Shkreli said that he “unable to provide certain numbers and data related to proprietary information,” on Daraprim, the drug he purchased before jacking up the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill.
While Shkreli has had no problem appearing on cable news broadcasts to explain the business rationale for increasing the price of a drug used to treat critically ill babies and AIDS patients over 5,000 percent, the CEO has drawn the line at voluntarily speaking with Congress.
“When my lawyers tell me I absolutely have to go, I’ll go,” he said in an interview. “They don’t have subpoena power until they’ve got widespread support. I don’t have to go to a hearing unless there’s widespread support.”
Responding to the Congressional requests for information, Turing Pharmaceutical released a statement reading: “We are reviewing the Committee’s request and, as we have and continue to do with similar congressional inquiries, we look forward to having an open and honest dialogue about drug pricing.”
Shkreli is not the only pharma exec avoiding appearing. Valeant Pharmaceuticals head J. Michael Pearson — whose company is also under attack for price gouging — is also balking at answering what promises to be hostile questions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.