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House Hearing Probes The Mystery Of High Drug Prices That 'Nobody Pays'

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Nancy Retzlaff, chief commercial officer for Turing Pharmaceuticals, was asked how much the drug Daraprim costs at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Members of Congress at a Thursday hearing wrestled with questions about why the prices of some old drugs are rising so fast.

Much of the session held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was dominated by Martin Shkreli, the bad-boy former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who earned notoriety by raising the price 5,000 percent for the drug Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis.

Shkreli — who has been indicted on unrelated securities charges and pleaded not guilty — invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions. As the hearing went on, he smirked, rolled his eyes and chuckled. Afterward, he insulted the committee members on Twitter.

Committee member Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., tweeted back.

Once Shkreli left Thursday's hearing, lawmakers grilled other witnesses about rising drug prices.

The seemingly simple question about how much Daraprim costs in the real world proved pretty tricky to pin down.

Listen for yourself as Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., asked Turing's Chief Commercial Officer Nancy Retzlaff how much Daraprim costs. The response is enough to make us feel like imbeciles.

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