The committee treated with such contempt

Congress is mad at Martin Shkreli, even the Republicans. I guess they don’t like it when capitalists make capitalism look bad?

Mr. Shkreli, who left Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drug company he started, after being indicted on federal securities fraud charges in December, repeatedly exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, angering various members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the committee treated with such contempt,” Representative John L. Mica, a Florida Republican, said after Mr. Shkreli was excused and left the room.

Dude, he’s a successful entrepreneur. You’re just a politician.

The theatrics surrounding Mr. Shkreli’s appearance, which included his smirking at some remarks by committee members and calling them “imbeciles” on Twitter after he left the hearing, overshadowed the discussion about huge overnight price increases in the prices of old drugs by Turing and another company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International.

News of questionable practices involving higher drug prices has stirred public outrage, provided notable moments on the campaign trails of presidential candidates and helped send some pharmaceutical stocks into a downward spiral. Several congressional committees are examining the trends in drug pricing.

He’s bad for business. He’s a successful entrepreneur, but he’s bad for business. Kind of like Madoff. (Maybe it’s not fair to call a fraud a successful entrepreneur. Then again…)

Valeant has increased the price of numerous old drugs, but the House committee has focused on two heart drugs, Isuprel and Nitropress. Valeant acquired both a year ago and immediately raised the price of Isuprel by more than 500 percent and of Nitropress by more than 200 percent, provoking protest from the hospitals that buy these drugs.

There are people (and even companies) who don’t price gouge lifesaving drugs…but this is America, where gouging is a sacred duty.

Mr. Merritt of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said that one way to counter big price increases on older drugs was to approve generic versions of them rapidly.

Isuprel, Nitropress and Daraprim are all so old that they are no longer protected by patents. Before the large price increases, sales of those drugs were probably too small to interest generic manufacturers. But with the greater revenue from higher prices, that could change.

Mr. Schiller of Valeant said in his testimony that he expected Isuprel and Nitropress to face generic competition “within the next year or two.”

However, the Food and Drug Administration has been faced with a huge backlog of applications for approval of generic drugs. That means companies like Valeant and Turing that raise the prices of old drugs have some time to enjoy the profits from the increases. In one email he wrote just after increasing the price of Daraprim, Mr. Shkreli said of the expected profits: “I think we will get three years of that or more.”

Three happy years of gouging. God bless America.


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