The American people have long been extorted and exploited at the hands of greedy pharmaceutical companies. Nothing made this more clear than when Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli purchased the anti-parasite drug Daraprim and promptly increased the price by 5000%, prompting a colossal wave of backlash from the public and politicians alike. Progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) were so incensed that they’ve ordered a Congressional investigation into the insufferable Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceutical and the unrepentant robber-barons at Valeant Pharmaceuticals to answer some hard questions about their unethical business practices.
Unfortunately, these noble-minded legislators have run into some obstacles – House Republicans, who have “refused every request” to hold hearings or issue subpoenas. A dozen House Democrats issued a strongly worded letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), calling them out for ignoring the citizens that elected them and protecting the profits of ruthless price-gougers like Shkreli: “Even if you have no interest in investigating these abuses on behalf of your own constituents, we ask that you not block us from investigating them on behalf of ours.”
“My constituents are dying” charged Cummings (D-MD). “They are dying because they cannot get a cure.” Lloyd Dogget (D-TX) also had some harsh words for his fellow Congressmen: “Instead of setting a new record of ObamaCare assaults, this Congress ought to be looking at record drug prices…All of us have heard about the company that took a 62-year-old drug and raised the price overnight. But exorbitant drug prices are not about one wrongdoer. They are a systemic problem that involve a wide range of manufacturers.”
The refusal of House Republicans to investigate a clear and present danger to the American people while insisting on wasting taxpayer time and money chasing phantom scandals in Benghazi and Planned Parenthood shows just where their priorities lie. Time and time again, they blatantly disregard the people who voted for them in favor of their own personal, partisan agendas. It’s an absolutely disgusting abuse of Congressional powers and a disgrace to our political system. Greedy cutthroats like Shkreli have made a fortune off the pain and suffering of the American people, holding their lives hostage for far too long. House Republicans must step aside and let justice have its day with these despicable jackals.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.