Martin Shkreli’s actions aren’t netting him more friends—but he seems fine with that.
The pharmaceutical CEO drew scathing criticism last year after raising the price of Daraprim—a lifesaving drug for AIDS patients—from $13.50 to more than
$700 per pill.
Twitter users rejoiced with snark and insults
after Shkreli was arrested on allegations of securities fraud in December.
On Thursday, Shkreli sparked further outrage for his actions during a congressional hearing to which he had been subpoenaed. He immediately refused to
answer questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights:
Shkreli appeared smug throughout the hearing, smirking throughout the questioning. He also refused to answer questions that seemingly didn’t matter to his
criminal court case, such as when Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Va., asked Shkreli about his $2 million purchase of a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album.
“There’s caution. There’s extreme caution. And there’s Martin Shkreli,” The Guardian reported.
Shkreli was silent only in congressional chambers; he has been quite vocal talking to various reporters and sharing his views on social media. The Guardian said that the day before his hearing, Shkreli answered the same question Gowdy asked:
On Wednesday, however, Shkreli had found no difficulty discussing the album. He appeared on the US radio show the Breakfast Club, where he
explained his reasons for buying the only copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
. “There’s a lot of things rich guys do to show off,” he said. “The press thing is a part of it, but it’s also to show your friends, or your last company,
like, ‘Hey, [f**k] you, look at me, I got this $2m album.’ Guys do that all the time.”
Immediately following his hearing, he turned to social media with cutting remarks.
His bravado didn’t stop at snark. Shkreli—whose Twitter profile is littered with retweets from supporters
as well as haters—also tweeted a link to his attorney’s appearance and hosted a live-streaming discussion on Blab:
It didn’t take long for him to becoming a trending topic on Twitter—along with Google’s No. 1 search. Many Twitter users had choice words for Skhreli and his performance:
However, several seemed divided on whether Shkreli or members of Congress are in the wrong:
The Los Angeles Times
reported that several lawmakers questioning Shkreli appeared as smug as the CEO and that prescription prices are astronomical not because of greedy
executives, but complicit legislators:
In truth, people like Shkreli aren't the real cause of the high drug prices that afflict American consumers. For one thing, the market for Daraprim is
small. Gilead Sciences, which markets two hepatitis C cures that cost more than $80,000 per treatment and address a market of potentially millions of
patients, has a much larger impact on many more people and on public and private healthcare providers as well. The company has been criticized by Congress,
too, but its executives are at least smart enough not to parade their glee at their profits in public.
The reason that the U.S. leads the world in stratospheric drug prices is that government policy allows it.
No matter what the majority opinion is, Shkreli remains unapologetic for his actions.
readers, what do you think about Shkreli’s going head to head with his critics online and in interview—and his unabashed attitude that what he did was both
legal and proper?