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

Senators slam pharma CEO for drug pricing, Wu Tang Clan album buy
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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: 'Too many embarrassing uncles' in the Senate FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity McCaskil 'not sure' Sanders, Harris, Warren can win Missouri in 2020 MORE (D-Mo.) said. “The facts underlying this hearing are so egregious but it’s hard not to get emotional about it.”


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 TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed MORE recently trashed him as “a spoiled brat,” and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersJoaquin Castro says brother Julián is running for president in 2020 Sanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump 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 Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House Dems follow Senate action with resolution to overturn IRS donor disclosure guidance Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure 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.