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Lawmaker blasts Martin Shkreli over subpoena inaction

Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli.

CBS News

WASHINGTON -- A House lawmaker says former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, reviled for hiking the price of a life-saving drug, has not made any legal arrangements to appear before Congress next week, despite receiving a subpoena.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said a lawyer for Shkreli indicated he has not sought permission from a New York judge to travel to Washington for a hearing on drug prices.

Shkreli is charged with securities fraud and conspiracy in a case stemming from one of his previous drug companies. Under the terms of bail in that case, he is required to remain in New York state. However, a judge could grant an exception to travel.

House lawmakers want to question Shkreli about his decision to hike the price of Daraprim, the only approved drug for a rare and sometimes deadly parasitic infection, by 5,000 percent. He resigned from Turing last month following his arrest.

Shkreli became notorious for hiking the price of Daraprim, the only approved drug for a rare and sometimes deadly parasitic infection, by 5,000 percent. Since then, Shkreli has been deluged with criticism from patients, politicians and the media, some calling him the "most hated man in America."

Cummings, who has been investigating exorbitant drug prices, said the 32-year-old Shkreli must take steps to appear before the committee.

"If he plans on trying to use his own intentional inaction as some kind of bogus excuse for not showing up at Tuesday's hearing, people will see right through such a juvenile tactic," Cummings said in statement.

Shkreli tweeted Wednesday afternoon about the subpoena, saying House members were "whining to healthcare reporters about me appearing for their chit chat next week."

Shkreli, a relentless self-promoter who often livestreams his daily life, has repeatedly bashed Cummings and other Washington lawmakers through social media.

Minutes after Cumming's statement, he took to Twitter in a message to the lawmaker: "Your attempt to subvert my constitutional right to the 5th amendment are disgusting and insulting to all Americans."

A day earlier he posted a photo of the subpoena with the caption, "Found this letter. Looks important."

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued the subpoena for Shkreli on Jan. 11. The committee has scheduled a Tuesday hearing to question executives from Turing and Valeant Pharmaceuticals, another drugmaker lambasted for hiking prices.

New York-based Turing confirmed that its chief commercial officer, Nancy Retzlaff, will testify at the hearing next week.

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Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is escorted by law enforcement agents in New York Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, after being taken into custody following a securities probe.

AP

Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, has also drawn the ire of Senate lawmakers.

On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, took to the Senate floor to blast Shkreli for refusing to turn over documents sought in a Dec. 24 subpoena from her Special Committee on Aging. Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions, citing his pending criminal case in New York.

But Collins said her investigation only involves Turing and the drug Daraprim, which are not part of the court case.

"The Committee has asked him, through counsel, for an explanation of the rationale for this argument, and is awaiting a response," Collins said.