Former Big Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli Pleads the Fifth When Questioned About Drug Gouging
- Almost 60 percent of Americans have to live in fear of losing their health or their lifestyle
- “Pharma Bro” finally shuts up, but only while in court
- Easy tips to keep your money out of Big Pharma’s pockets.
Prescription drug price gouging isn’t an uncommon theme in the American health care system.
Chances are you have had firsthand experience. Like when you open a hospital bill and see a $30 charge for Tylenol. Or when you get to the pharmacy and find out your allergy medication is 250 bucks.
It’s one of the worst feelings — you’re trapped. Trapped between having a possible health improvement and paying your bills or enjoying a more comfortable lifestyle.
It’s terrifying to know that your health and financial well-being depend on the arbitrary decisions of drugmakers.
And while prescription drugs may not always be the healthiest or most natural choice, there are times in life when they are the only choice — making you the victim of Big Pharma’s greed.
With almost 60 percent of Americans using prescription drugs, it’s no wonder Big Pharma is only getting bigger. 1
Recently, the American public has been raising more questions about Big Pharma pricing and their despicable practices.
In fact, just last Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had a face-off with “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli about his recent price gouging. But it was just that — a face-off, from Shkreli at least.
Let’s take a look at what Shkreli was up too while he was in the House last week.
You may remember Martin Shkreli from his unfathomable actions last year when he upped the price of an HIV medication, Daraprim, 50-fold.2
Shkreli had big plans for this price hike even before he had acquired the drug. He even sent emails out to his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, boasting, “$1 billion, here we come” while still in the process of getting the rights to the drug.3
He refused to speak to members of Congress when they asked him several questions about his nefarious decision to drive up the price of Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill back in September.
In fact, some members asked him direct questions about the Daraprim scandal.
For instance, committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz questioned Shkreli about what he would say to an HIV-positive pregnant woman in need of Daraprim but unable pay for it. Shkreli invoked the Fifth Amendment.
As several other members of Congress attempted to get a response from Shkreli, he maintained his typically arrogant air and proceeded to smirk and roll his eyes throughout questioning.
Martin Shkreli smiling while before the House.
Photo Credit: Mark Wilson, Ghetty Images
At one point, Shkreli looked as though he were about to burst into laughter as lawmakers discussed the victims of Turing Pharmaceuticals and his personal greed.
His snide laughter and facial expression evoked Maryland ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings into furiously bellowing, “It’s not funny, Mr. Shkreli. People are dying. And they’re getting sicker and sick.”2
Shkreli’s antics continued outside of the courtroom. He later used social media platform Twitter to reveal his feelings about Congress:
Photo Credit: Twitter
While Shkreli’s statement about the government isn’t a far cry from the truth in most instances, it’s his blatant greed and disrespect for the consumer that makes him such a scoundrel.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals is another member of the Big Pharma club that has recently come under scrutiny due it its drastic price increases for two cardiac drugs. And these weren’t minor inflation adjustments. The prices increased by 212 percent and 525 percent.4
When questioned by the House, Valeant interim CEO Howard Schiller had this to say in a prepared statement:
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.
Schiller went on to tell the committee, “Where we’ve made mistakes, we’re listening and we’re changing.”3
While it’s pretty obvious the government is making examples of these two poster villains, Valeant and Turing are certainly not alone in the price gouging of American health care.
Many other pharmaceutical companies are making a killing too. Actually, Merck netted $11.9 billion last year. It seems reasonable to assume they made some of that fortune through the increased costs of prescription drugs.5
But you don’t have to bow down to Big Pharma. There are a few ways to keep people like Martin Shkreli from untying your purse strings.
One way to do this is to take an inventory of your current meds. If you are taking more than one med to treat the same disease or symptom, ask your doctor if that is necessary.
Also, you can look for a natural alternative. There are natural solutions to lots of common ailments for which we take prescriptions. Do your research about your condition and ask your doctor if the natural options you find are a good match for you.
If you have any medicine cost-cutting tips, please share! email@example.com
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
Written By Natalie Moore
Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.
View More Free Articles
I often write about oral health. And there’s a good reason for that. No, it’s not that I’m obsessed with everyone having a perfectly shiny set of pearly whites. I focus on oral care for an entirely DIFFERENT reason. It’s because what goes on in your mouth has a surprisingly large impact on your overall...
I bet you do your best to AVOID unnecessary antibiotics. After all, the overuse of these lifesaving drugs has led to antibiotic resistance. And the result is the emergence of superbugs that can cause dangerous (and even DEADLY) infections that resist all conventional medicines. But what if I told you that you were being force-fed...
You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of adding exercise to your already-packed agenda. In fact, many folks get exhausted just thinking about working out. But if this is you, know that getting fit doesn’t HAVE to feel that way. You can get the benefit of workouts WITHOUT the worry. Here’s how…...
Experts estimate that in 2024 alone, 611,720 Americans will die from colon cancer. That’s around 1680 souls lost a day. And your risk rises with age. That makes now… BEFORE you or a loved one gets sideswiped with an unexpected diagnosis… the time to think about this deadly disease. After all, one thing no one...
“My joints, especially my knees, have been hurting more. What can I do? It’s keeping me from moving a lot.” – Barbara Hi Barbara, It may seem counterintuitive, but carefully chosen exercise could be precisely “what the doctor ordered” to soothe chronic knee pain. Studies show the right activities can EASE the ache, allowing you...
No one expects to develop a foot ulcer. That goes without saying. But if you have diabetes, the odds that you will are higher than you might expect. In fact, 60 percent of diabetics will develop neuropathy in their feet, eventually leading to one. However, poor glycemic control isn’t the only trigger for foot ulcers....
It’s only natural to avoid moving when you’re in pain. We’ve all been there, gritting our teeth and doing our best to remain still. After all, the last thing you want to do is make the pain WORSE. But this is one time when following your instincts could be a BIG mistake. It could take...
A stroll through the park or doing some gardening are enjoyable pastimes for many of us. Unfortunately, they’re ones we often don’t get to do nearly enough. But new research reveals why you should MAKE TIME for these nature-based hobbies. Because, it turns out, as you age your HEALTH could depend on it. Here’s why…...
Keeping your mind sharp as you age is a priority. If you’ve been following my suggestions, you may already be taking steps to protect your brain. And that’s fantastic! Things like taking certain supplements, walking regularly, prioritizing quality sleep, doing challenging crossword puzzles, and playing brain-stimulating games can INDEED support brain health and help head...
Before leaving on a trip recently my daughter was feeling a bit under the weather. She was worried she might be getting sick and asked how to recover more quickly from a cold. I explained that there’s still no cure for the common cold. But, certain foods and self-care practices CAN ease symptoms and shorten...