During his hearing at Congress, the "bad boy of pharma," Martin Shkreli, invoked his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer any questions about why he increased the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750—that’s over 5,000%.
In fact, he thought the whole thing was pretty funny considering he couldn’t stop smiling and holding back laughter.
The first question of the hearing came from Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
“What do you say to a single, pregnant woman who might have AIDS, no income, and needs Daraprim in order to survive… what do you say to her?”
Shkreli responded by saying, “On the advice of counsel I invoke my 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.”
When asked if he thought he had done anything wrong, Shkreli smiled stated, again, “On the advice of counsel I invoke my 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.”
there’s something wrong with this guy pic.twitter.com/mdfaBG8E1q— Sam Ro (@bySamRo) February 4, 2016
Clearly a little frustrated, Chaffetz handed the questioning over to Rep. Trey Gowdy, who then asked Shkreli if he was pronouncing his name correctly. When Shkreli answered “Yes,” Gowdy exclaimed, “See there you can answer some questions! That one didn’t incriminate you.”
Shkreli's smile got even bigger as he looked on at Gowdy, who then tried to explain that he can't incriminate himself by answering their questions.
“I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours,” Shkreli replied.
“You gave an interview… where you couldn’t wait to come educate the members of Congress on drug pricing, and this would be a great opportunity to do it,” Gowdy said. “I listened to his interview. He didn’t have to be prodded to talk during that interview. He doesn’t have to be prodded to tweet a whole lot or to show us his life on that little webcam he’s got... We could even talk about the Wu-Tang Clan. Is that the name of the group?”
Chaffetz eventually reined him in, changing the tune of the hearing.
Representative Elijah Cummings spoke next, almost seeming personally hurt by his actions and behavior.
“I want to plead with you to use any remaining influence you have with your former company to press them to lower the price of these drugs. You can look away if you like, but I wish you could see the faces of people… you cannot get the drugs that they cannot get,” he said.
Calling him the “bad boy of pharma,” Cummings continues his impassioned lecture while Shkreli continues to look away, making strange faces while seeming to hold back more laughter.
“Drug company executives are lining their pockets at the expense of some of the most vulnerable families in our nation… “Cummings said. "It's not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying and they're getting sicker and sicker.”
When it became clear that the hearing was going nowhere, Chaffetz eventually dismissed Shkreli.
Shkreli may have remained silent during the hearing, but that didn’t stop him from tweeting his ludicrous view of Congress: "Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government."
.@MartinShkreli these lawmakers represent the people whose lives your actions threaten.— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) February 4, 2016
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign chimed in, tweeting back to Shkreli, “These lawmakers represent the people whose lives your actions threaten.”
As Emily Fox of Vanity Fair eloquently declared, “Shkreli, currently unemployed, spends the vast majority of his time now live-streaming with Internet voyeurs looking for a front-row seat to the sideshow he has created. He has confused fame with infamy, disrespect with cool, and greed with good. It remains to be seen exactly when his luck will run out.”
His laughter and blatant disrespect for Congress just goes to show how he truly feels about the lives of people that he has affected. While he seems to have escaped any sort of penalty for his actions, we can only hope that somehow, some way, he will get what he deserves.
Banner Image Credit: Reuters