New hearing for Wu-Tang feuding 'Pharma bro'

Martin Shkreli leaving court earlier this year. Photo / AP
Martin Shkreli leaving court earlier this year. Photo / AP

United States lawmakers have rescheduled a hearing to question America's "most-hated" chief executive Martin Shkreli, who has goaded Congress on Twitter and started a potential feud with rapper Ghostface Killah.

The blizzard which ravaged the north-east of the U.S over the weekend meant Shkreli's hearing before The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was rescheduled for February.

The hearing will examine exorbitant drug price increases by Shkreli's former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, and other drugmakers.

The new date increases the likelihood that Shkreli will be forced to attend.

Shkreli has become the public face of corporate greed after his company Turing hiked the price of Daraprim, the only approved drug for a rare and sometimes deadly parasitic infection, by 5,000 per cent.

Since then, Shkreli has been deluged with criticism from patients, politicians and the media, with some labeling him the "most hated man in America."

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Lawmakers subpoenaed Shkreli, who often taunts his critics over Twitter, earlier this month as part of a months-long probe into drug pricing.

But his lawyer has requested he be excused from attending the congressional hearing, since the terms of his bail forbid him from leaving New York.

Last month, the 32-year-old former hedge fund manager was charged with securities fraud and conspiracy related to another pharmaceutical company he previously ran called Retrophin. Shkreli pleaded not guilty and was released on $5 million bail. He resigned as CEO of Turing.

Shkreli has already intimated he will invoke his 5th amendment rights to refuse to answer questions:

"You want me to go to DC to just say 'I plead the 5th'? For your entertainment?," he tweeted last Friday.

Shkreli has also responded on the social media platform to comments from rapper and member of hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan Ghostface Killah, who disapproves of his drug-price strategy.

Ghostface Killah. Photo / Getty
Ghostface Killah. Photo / Getty

Ghostface last week said he thought Shkreli - who paid US$2 million for the only copy of a new Wu-Tang album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin - should release that record for public consumption.

"Ghost mad that Shaolin outsold his last 5 albums...dude's a non-profit rapper," Shkreli tweeted.

Wu-Tang Clan member Masta Killa told the Herald in an interview that he hadn't heard the finished version of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and didn't know much about Shkreli.

"From trying to create a sense of value back to the music, I understand why it was marketed the way it was.

"I thank him for loving hip-hop and loving Wu-Tang enough to purchase the album, I really respect that... I don't know too much about him - I'd like to meet him so we can maybe listen to it together. "

- NZ Herald

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