Martin Shkreli sat before a Congressional committee on Thursday, February 4, but the pharmaceutical CEO opted to keep his mouth shut throughout his hour-long appearance concerning his company’s extreme drug price hikes.
While members of Congress took turns lobbing stern words at Shkreli, 32, the disgraced drug company entrepreneur remained largely silent, only smirking on occasion in response.
“I call this money blood money … coming out of the pockets of hardworking Americans,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said at one point. “I know you are smiling, but I am very serious, sir. I truly believe you can become a force of tremendous good. All I ask is that you reflect on it. No, I don’t ask, I beg that you reflect on it.”
To this, Shkreli simply leaned forward and replied: “On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.” Shkreli did this a total of four times.
Later, Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz refused to allow Shkreli’s attorney, Ben Brafman, to speak, and then summarily dismissed Shkreli from the room altogether.
The former Retrophin founder made sure to get the last word, however, tweeting immediately after exiting the room.
“Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government,” he tweeted.
In December, Shkreli was arrested on several counts of securities fraud after he allegedly took funds from his former biopharmaceutical company, Retrophin, to pay off debts he owed to investors who lost money through the hedge fund he started, MSMB Capital Management.
He previously made headlines in September after acquiring and raising the price of AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750 overnight, causing everyone from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders to publicly shame him.
“This young guy raised the price to a level that’s absolutely ridiculous, and he looks like a spoiled brat,” Trump told reporters during a South Carolina campaign stop in September. “And he’s a hedge-fund guy, who, as you know, [are] the only one[s] that I’m raising taxes on. They are going to be paying up. I thought it was a disgusting thing, what he did. I thought it was a disgrace.”
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