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Judge allows former drug CEO Shkreli to testify before Congress

Judge allows former drug CEO Shkreli to testify before Congress
© Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for embattled former drug company CEO Martin Shkreli to testify before a House hearing next week. 

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The judge issued an order modifying Shkreli’s bail to allow him to travel to Washington, D.C., for the hearing. The terms of the bail, related to charges of securities fraud, had restricted Shkreli to remain in New York. 

The order paves the way for what is sure to be a contentious hearing before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 4. 

Shkreli became the poster boy for drug price hikes when his former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, hiked the price of a drug to treat a life-threatening infection from $13.50 to $750 overnight. 

He was subpoenaed by the committee to appear as part of a broader hearing on price hikes for drugs, an issue that has increasingly been in the spotlight. 

Shkreli has raised the prospect of invoking his Fifth Amendment rights to stay silent at the hearing. 

Shkreli’s attorney last week asked to postpone the hearing, but House Oversight Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzSenate passes dozens of bills on way out of town Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report Chaffetz: Congress will ‘absolutely’ look at 5B in waste at Pentagon MORE (R-Utah) told the lawyer that the Committee would enforce the subpoena and Shkreli must attend. 

More broadly, the hearing will give lawmakers a chance to voice their views on drug prices in general. Turing and another company, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, have been under scrutiny from both parties for hiking prices on off-patent drugs that face little market competition. It is unclear, though, how far the bipartisan outrage will spread to more mainstream pharmaceutical companies.