SPONSORED:

Overnight Healthcare: Shkreli in for grilling on drug prices

Martin Shkreli, who has become a poster child for price-gouging drug companies, will make a long-awaited appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

The House Oversight Committee will hold its first hearing on drug pricing on Thursday morning, focusing on Shkreli's former company Turing Pharmaceuticals, as well as another company facing claims of profiteering, Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Both companies have come under fire for the hedge-fund like practice of buying decades-old drugs and then raising the costs to increase their profits.

ADVERTISEMENT

All eyes are likely to be on Shkreli and his no-holds-barred approach to his critics. The 32-year-old New Yorker has made a habit of live-streaming his daily routine and using Twitter to taunt lawmakers – like presidential contender Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Trump's debate performance was too little, too late Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (I-Vt.) – who have criticized his company.

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), has already made clear he intends to grill Shkreli about his decision to hike up the costs of a drug more than 5,000 percent overnight with the hopes of driving up profits.  

But Shkreli is also battling a criminal investigation for an unrelated charge of securities fraud. His lawyer told reporters on Wednesday that his client will be under a self-imposed gag order. Shkreli's lawyers have already told the committee that he intends to skip lawmaker's questions during the hearing, pleading his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, with a slightly lower-profile than Turing Pharmaceuticals in the drug-pricing debate, will defend its record to the committee while promising some reforms, according to prepared testimony shared with The Hill.

"While, like most other pharmaceutical companies, we will from time to time raise prices, I expect those price increases to be within industry norms and much more modest than the ones that drew this Committee's legitimate concern," the company's interim CEO, Howard Schiller, plans to tell the committee.

BURWELL WILL BRIEF LAWMAKERS ON ZIKA: The Obama administration will dispatch a top official to Capitol Hill to update lawmakers about the Zika virus amid growing concern about the disease.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight On The Money: Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight | Landlords, housing industry sue CDC to overturn eviction ban Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellBogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration The swamp wasn't drained — it expanded Pence, Fauci to brief lawmakers on coronavirus MORE will brief leadership and relevant committees next week, after McConnell requested a meeting. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1Qdx7qW

BILL WOULD MOVE EBOLA $ TO ZIKA: Rep. Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartAtlanta Wendy's 911 call the night of Rayshard Brooks's death released Tyler Perry offers to pay for funeral of Rayshard Brooks Current, former NHL players form diversity coalition to fight intolerance in hockey MORE (R-Utah) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would allow government agencies to use the more than $1 billion left over in Ebola funds to be used against the Zika virus.  

The buried lede: close to half of the $2.4 billion allocated by Congress to fight Ebola was unspent as of last September.

The federal government has not yet laid out a strategy for combating the mosquito-borne Zika virus – though it is far less deadly and less contagious than the Ebola virus. Read more here. http://bit.ly/1PVc1mZ

FEDS RAMPING UP RESPONSE IN FLINT: The Obama administration is deploying a team of trained public health officers to Flint, Mich. amid the city's worsening water crisis.

A total of 16 members of the public health commissioned corps are now tasked with working with children who have suffered from lead poisoning because of the city's drinking water.

"The water crisis in Flint is a public health crisis and demands a public health response," Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in a statement on Wednesday. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1PVcCoI

ON TAP TOMORROW

The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on drug prices with the spotlight on the pharmaceutical companies Valeant and Turing.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Brazil isn't sharing enough data on Zika virus, health officials say (Time)

Bernie Sanders' tax increases fall short of paying for health plan (Wall Street Journal)

Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Democrats play defense, GOP goes on attack after Biden oil comments Quinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas MORE resurrects a very stale ObamaCare claim (WaPo Fact-Checker)

Fed grants will expand healthcare into social services (USA Today)

IN THE STATES:

Videographer in Planned Parenthood case to be offered probation (Houston Chronicle)

Anti-abortion activist surrenders to police in Texas (KVUE)

Hundreds pack Idaho state capitol for first-ever Medicaid expansion hearing (Magic Valley News)

Study: Birth control use fell in Texas after Planned Parenthood cut (ABC News)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

California exchange CEO: Insurers 'throwing ObamaCare under the bus' http://bit.ly/1P7ANwE

Officials point fingers over Flint water crisis http://bit.ly/1NQQBA3

Send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Peter Sullivan, psullivan@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@sarahnferris@PeterSullivan4