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The former hedge funder who jacked up a drug's price by 5,000% has hired lobbyists

Martin ShkreliTwitter.com/MarinShkreli

The former hedge funder who garnered widespread criticism for raising a 62-year-old drug’s price by more than 5,000% has hired a lobbying firm.

Turing Pharmaceuticals recently hired four lobbyists from Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney, according to disclosure forms filed with the House and Senate on Tuesday.

The lobbying giant filed the disclosure, writing the purpose was “strategy development and implementation of the company’s federal government relations initiatives.”

Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, came under fire after Turing hiked the price of Daraprim — a drug commonly used to treat patients with AIDS, cancer, and malaria — by about 5,445% last week.

Shkreli initially defended the price hike, but drew relentless criticism from a wide variety of influential US figures, including the Republican and Democratic presidential front-runners. Turing eventually pushed the price down from $US750 per pill to an undisclosed amount.

After news of the price hike broke, Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), asking him to subpoena papers on the price hike, They also urged Chaffetz to hold a hearing with the 32-year-old Shkreli.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, has also relentlessly criticised
Shkreli. This week, she demanded he lower the cost of his drug to the original price.

“Do the right thing. Lower the cost today to its original price. There are other drug companies gouging Americans with higher prices than they charge other people around the world,” Clinton said in a Facebook question-and-answer session.

The four lobbyists in charge of the effort have experience lobbying in the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), according to Buchanan’s website.

The drug has a very small market in the US with no generic counterpart — giving it a veritable monopoly and near free reign to determine its own pricing.

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