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Senators slam pharma CEO for drug pricing, Wu Tang Clan album buy

Senators slam pharma CEO for drug pricing, Wu Tang Clan album buy
© ABC News

A pair of top senators lashed out Wednesday against several now-infamous drug company CEOs, including Martin Shkreli, who have been accused of price-gouging on potentially life-saving treatments.

“My biggest challenge today is to not lose my temper,” Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill welcomes ninth grandson in a row Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mo.) said. “The facts underlying this hearing are so egregious but it’s hard not to get emotional about it.”

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McCaskill, who co-led the Senate’s first hearing on drug pricing this year, directed most of her attacks against Shkreli, the 32-year-old hedge fund manager-turned-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

“This is the same guy who thought it was a great idea to pay millions of dollars for the only existing album of the Wu Tang Clan,” she said, to sneers throughout the room, referring to a report on Wednesday that Shkreli shelled out $2 million for the only copy of "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," the most expensive album ever sold.

Shkreli, repeatedly dubbed “the most hated man in America,” has been under fire from congressional committees as well as presidential candidates from both parties. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE recently trashed him as “a spoiled brat,” and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.) redirected the CEO’s campaign contribution to charity.

Shkreli, meanwhile, has basked in the attention — further inflaming his critics on Twitter after deciding to live-stream his every move for 24 straight hours.

McCaskill said she has been repeatedly shunted in her investigation of Turing, which came under fire after reports that it raised the costs of a decades-old anti-parasitic drug from $13.50 to $750 per bill.

“Valeant refused to answer my questions and instead downplayed my concerns,” she said, raising her voice. As she turned to the witness panel of mostly medical experts and doctors, McCaskill thanked her co-chair of the committee Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (R-Maine) because “she calms me down.”

Collins, in her slow, even tone, also blasted the companies for creating “excuses” to raise their prices without explanation.

“Some of the companies that have been the focus of our investigation look more like hedge funds than they do pharmaceutical companies,” Collins said.