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'Pharma Bro' Shkreli Incites Fury at House Hearing

'Pharma Bro' Shkreli Incites Fury at House Hearing


Derided for raising the price of a medication used by some with HIV, the former drug executive refused to answer questions and later insulted the committee.

Onetime pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli -- who raised the price of a lifesaving drug by 5,000 percent, to $750 a pill -- angered many with his behavior Thursday. Shkreli was appearing in front of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform following his arrest in December for fraud and operating a Ponzi-like scheme.

During the hearing, Shkreli repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows a person to avoid being a "witness against himself," Reuters reports.

"On the advice of counsel I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question," the 32-year-old repeatedly told the politicians of the Oversight Committee. When South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy suggested Shkreli could answer questions that wouldn't incriminate him or weren't related to the fraud, Shkreli responded, "I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours."

Shkreli, no longer affiliated with Turing Pharmaceuticals and fired from another drug company he was associated with, looked uninterested during the proceedings and at one point was asked if he was listening. He was eventually excused from the hearing since he wasn't offering any testimony. Later he tweeted the following message: "Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government."

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings became aware of the tweet during the hearing and pounded his fist on the dais, according to Reuters. Congressman John Mica of Florida suggested holding Shkreli in contempt for his behavior.

Watch a clip from Thursday's hearing below.

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