Elijah Cummings: Former Hedge Fund Manager Should Testify about "Overnight" Price Increase for Life-Saving Drug

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 22, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz requesting that the Committee hold a hearing with Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old former hedge fund manager whose company recently purchased the life-saving drug Daraprim and increased the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill "overnight."

In responding to a virtually instant outcry of criticism, Mr. Shkreli tweeted that his price increase is "a great thing for society."  He also berated a reporter as a "moron" for requesting an explanation for his indefensible price increase.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America has also objected to this massive price increase, sending a letter urging Mr. Shkreli's company to "help us improve public health by immediately implementing a rational and fair pricing strategy."  Rather than heeding this request from a group of more than 10,000 infectious disease physicians and scientists, Mr. Shkreli mocked their concerns.  When asked how he could sleep at night, Mr. Shkreli tweeted, "you know, ambien."

"When our Committee met at the beginning of this Congress, we agreed unanimously to investigate the increasing price of certain prescription drugs, but the Committee has held no hearings and has issued no document requests to drug companies this year," Cummings wrote to Chaffetz.  "I hope you will seriously consider this request, and I also hope we can work together in a bipartisan manner to address this issue on behalf of our constituents and our country."

For more than two years, Cummings and Senator Bernie Sanders have been investigating price increases for drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses and to identify measures to help reduce costs for patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals across the country.

Click here to read today's letter. (PDF)