Like a scene straight out of Wolf of Wall Street, America’s favorite “Pharma Bro” was pulled before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform where he refused to answer questions, and at times almost seemed to mimic the same facial expressions that Donald Trump had made during the presidential debates.
Martin Shkreli was the owner of the company that produced Daraprim, a drug that has possible life-saving capabilities, when that company raised the price of the drug 5,000 percent. This caused a huge public backlash. Now Shkreli has been arrested and charged with securities fraud regarding a separate company he owned. Nevertheless, congress wanted to get to the bottom of the Daraprim price increase, especially with the topic of healthcare making its way into some presidential stump speeches lately.
Shkreli informed the committee members that he was invoking his fifth amendment rights, per the advice of his counsel. Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked him something that invoked a “yes sir” from Shkreli, and immediately followed up with pointing out that Shkreli could answer some of their questions without incriminating himself. Shkreli responded by saying, “I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours.”
The good news is that Shkreli might be the one person capable of uniting members of congress, and perhaps even uniting the American people (to a degree) behind congress as well. However, there is one person who lost after today’s testimony, and it wasn’t the “Pharma Bad Boy.”
Hillary Clinton already managed to look like the loser this past week, after she barely beat Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Caucus with the help of six coin tosses. There is no doubt that America was “feeling the Bern” after Iowa where Hillary barely won against someone she was once beating by 58 percent according to some polls. Even worse, that Bern-ing sensation the Clinton camp has been feeling not only can’t be cured by the pharmaceutical companies, they are actually making it worse.
At a time when Hillary is defending her progressive credentials from the Sanders campaign and other groups, Shkreli’s condescending testimony could not come at a worse time. That’s because the candidate who has raised the most money from pharmaceutical companies is, that’s right, Hillary “Big Money” Clinton.
Americans are going to watch the House Committee testimony tonight after they get home, and they are going to think about the Sanders campaign’s latest attacks surrounding Hillary’s accepting $675,000 for speeches to Wall Street firms and executives. Expect to hear more about how she is also the biggest recipient of big pharma money of anyone in the presidential field. Today’s testimony helps congress because Shkreli is exactly the kind of Gordon Gekko-esque bad guy main street loves to hate. Shkreli doesn’t lose because he has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him or his actions. The person who can expect the most damage from today’s testimony is Hillary Clinton.
If I were on the Sanders campaign, my big weekend push would be emails and ads to supporters and fence-sitters with a GIF of the many faces of Shkreli during his testimony, and ask about the many faces of Hillary. Is she a progressive today, or a shill for big pharma?