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Business

Shkreli insults congressional panel

Former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has gravely insulted members of the US Congress after refusing to testify in a hearing. Lawmakers wanted to find out more about drug price increases he had engineered.

Martin Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions from legislators Thursday about some disproportionate drug price hikes he was responsible for, such as

increasing the price of 62-year-old life-saving Daraprim

to $750 (668 euros) per pill from just $13.50.

During the hearing, Shkreli responded to questions by smirking, twirling a pencil and yawning.

Shkreli became a trending topic on social media following the hearing. There were 40 posts per minute about him on Twitter, with about 92,000 people talking about him on Facebook.

Most users showed disapproval of Shkreli's direct insult hurled at the members of the congressional panel from his own Twitter account.

His appearance also angered Bernie Sanders, US senator for Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate. Sanders said: "The American people are fed up with the blatant profiteering of pharmaceutical company CEOs like Martin Shkreli; it must end."

In December of last year, Shkreli was arrested and indicted for securities fraud prior to joining Turing. He stands accused of lying to investors, moving money between investments to cover losses and siphoning off cash for personal expenses.

Watch video 01:30

Shkreli refuses to testify on drug price increases

hg/sri (Reuters, AFP)

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