UPDATE 1-U.S. House committee seeks testimony from 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli

Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:54pm EST
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(Adds comment from Cummings)

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON Jan 15 (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional panel has asked pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli to testify at a Jan. 26 hearing about his company's decision to raise the price of a life-saving prescription drug, according to a Republican committee staffer.

Shkreli, who became known as "Pharma Bro," created a fire storm last year after his company Turing Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of a drug called Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent.

Last month, Shkreli was forced to step down as Turing CEO amid criminal and civil securities fraud charges alleging he ran a Ponzi-like scheme during his tenure at the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and while he was the CEO of Retrophin , another drug company he previously headed.

The securities fraud charges are unrelated to the drug pricing probe by the committee.

The hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will primarily focus on Turing's price spike of Daraprim, and price hikes for two of Valeant Pharmaceutical's heart medications - Isuprel and Nitropress.

A Democratic committee staffer told Reuters on Friday that Valeant's Interim CEO Howard Schiller is also expected to appear at the hearing.

A Valeant spokeswoman confirmed that Schiller will attend, and said he looks forward to testifying and that the company is cooperating with the ongoing congressional probe.   Continued...