Warren takes on Shkreli's 'unethical' pricing

Warren takes on Shkreli's 'unethical' pricing

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren 'troubled' by Obama's speaking fee Obama's speech proves hypocrisy of Democrat's anti-Wall Street rhetoric Warren to Trump: The Constitution applies to you, too MORE (D-Mass.) on Thursday came out swinging against top executives at Turing Pharmaceuticals, condemning “unethical” drug pricing under former CEO Martin Shkreli.

The company's pricing practices spurred a national firestorm after it raised the price of a decades-old drug called Daraprim by 5,000 percent overnight.

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The sticker price for Daraprim, used to treat parasitic infections often found in AIDS patients, is now about $750 per pill.

“Almost no patient pays that price,” Turing interim CEO Ronald Tilles said during a heated back-and-forth with Warren at a Senate Aging Committee hearing on Thursday.

“Saying ‘almost’ is not very good if it’s your child who’s in trouble,” Warren said. “You can’t just shove this off. You have people who can’t afford it.”

While Tilles said he could “admit” that the price has gone up, he refused to say the cost increase was unethical.

Shkreli, the company’s former lightning rod CEO, has since stepped down after facing federal fraud charges separate from his work at the company.

Shkreli, who was called to testify at a House committee earlier this year, infuriated lawmakers by smirking during their questions and taking to Twitter to condemn them minutes after he left the hearing room. Much of his former coworkers’ appearance at the Senate on Thursday was doing damage control.

“What’s done is done, but going forward, we will make every effort to improve access,” Tilles said during an exchange with Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineOvernight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Kaine, Schiff press Trump on legal justification for Syria strike Democrats thought they could produce a political earthquake in Kansas MORE (D-Va.). “We feel we are moving in a good direction at this point.”

Warren, a frequent critic of “big pharma,” said all drug companies have a responsibility to limit the costs of drugs.

“It was unethical when Turing did it, and it was just as unethical when the rest of the pharmaceutical industry jacks up drug prices, and they routinely did it,” Warren said.