Health Care

Overnight Healthcare: ‘Pharma bro’ gets his day in court

Everyone’s favorite “pharma bro” is being accused of fraud.

Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old hedge fund manager turned political target, was arrested Thursday morning at his Manhattan apartment. Among the accusations: secret pay-offs, sham consulting and key omissions on financial statements, of course.

The securities fraud charges are unrelated to the price-gouging firestorm that Shrekli helped fuel in recent weeks.

{mosads}His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a life-saving, anti-parasitic drug more than 5,000 percent overnight, drawing scorn from Capitol Hill to the campaign trail.

Instead, the charges stem from his work at another drug company, Retrophin, which he headed from 2012 to 2014. The indictment alleges Shkreli and his lawyer Evan Greebel, who was also arrested Thursday, “engaged in a scheme” to defraud the company by repeatedly lying about its assets.

Shkreli, who plead not guilty, was released Thursday afternoon on a $5 million bond – almost twice the cost of that Wu-Tang-Clan album he bought. (The jury’s still out on what happens to the album, and whether Bill Murray can steal back the copy.) Read more here.

OBLIGATORY REMINDER THAT THE HOUSE JUST FROZE THE MED DEVICE TAX: The House vote on Thursday sealed one of the greatest lobbying wins of the year. The tax freeze saves medical device companies almost $4 billion over two years.

Lobbyists from groups like AdvaMed have been biting at the heels of lawmakers for years to get rid of the tax, which both companies and members have argued is unfair because it taxes revenues and not just profits.

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), who has led efforts to repeal the tax, told The Hill that he pestered GOP leaders about it so much that House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady used to joke on conference calls with his colleagues, “Don’t worry, Paulsen’s repeal is still in the mix.” Read more here

REPUBLICANS DRAG OUT VETO FIGHT WITH WHITE HOUSE: Republican leaders said Thursday they are planning a vote to roll back major pieces of ObamaCare next month, a delayed timeline that will coincide with the State of the Union.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he hopes to vote on the budget reconciliation package the first week that Congress returns in January, a move that will give Obama 10 days to veto the bill. The State of the Union address will take place at the Capitol on Jan. 12, putting it in the middle of a back-and-vote veto battle.

That bill will also defund Planned Parenthood, likely to come close to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22. Read more here.

THE DOMINO EFFECT ON OBAMACARE CHANGES? The Democratic frontrunner for president is adding to her list of tweaks for ObamaCare. Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Iowa on Wednesday that she would support changes to the healthcare law’s 30-hour workweek rule, which has been long controversial among business groups.

Clinton stopped short of promising to change the rule, but acknowledged that it’s hurting some workers.

“I really worry about it because there is a trend to try and move more and more people into part-time work,” Clinton said. “And sometimes you want to work part-time, it fits into your family, it fits into your life obligations, but sometimes you want to work full-time but you can’t get a full-time job. So I want to look at all the employment rules.”

ObamaCare’s employer mandate requires businesses with 50 or more full-time or equivalent employees to offer workers health insurance or face penalties that can exceed $2,000 per employee.

Industry groups have pushed to change those rules, with business leaders warning they will have no choice but to move toward more part-time positions in order to avoid the cost of providing healthcare benefits. Read more here.


The House and Senate are expected to vote on the omnibus budget package.


Senate Democrat: Planned Parenthood shooter ‘almost parroted’ GOP rhetoric (Buzzfeed)

Female survivor may be cause of Ebola flare-up in Liberia (Reuters)

ObamaCare tax delay would give insurers a windfall (Morning Consult)


Feds tell Iowa: Delay Medicaid privatization 60 days (Des Moines Register)

Massachusetts lawmaker takes insurance companies to task over mental health denials (Boston Globe)


ObamaCare fears grow after tax freeze


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Tags Hillary Clinton Kevin Brady Paul Ryan

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