Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and the man behind the recent 5,000%+ price increase in the antiparasitic drug “Daraprim,” has announced that he will be lowering the drug’s price. The statement comes after claims that he had no intention of lowering the price and after several days of public outcry.
Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that is primarily dangerous to pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
The rights to the drug were purchased by Shkreli and the price was raised from $13.50 per pill to $750.00 per pill. Shkreli previously justified the increase by saying that the former price was “unprofitable” and that it made sense for Daraprim to be priced like other specialty treatments (such as for cancer) due to how rarely it is needed. Critics claim the comparison is erroneous because the high price of cancer treatments is because the companies need to make up for large research and development costs, which Shkreli’s company did not spend.
The presence of several “high-living” pictures on Shkreli’s Twitter account from his former job as a hedge fund manager has not helped his public image.
Shkreli has not identified what the new, reduced price will be as of yet. He has only stated that Daraprim will be made more affordable, but its pricing will still permit a “very small profit.” Shkreli has additionally pledged that Turing Pharmaceuticals would work with hospitals and patients on an individual basis so that those who need the medication will be able to acquire it.
Toxoplasmosis is most commonly acquired from cats and is largely harmless in most people. If present in an immunocompromised person or pregnant woman (where it can pass to the child), it produces flu-like symptoms that can lead to advanced complications such as seizures or swelling of the brain.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Drug Company CEO to Lower Price of Daraprim after Public Outcry, News Report Says,” CBC News web site, September 22, 2015; http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/turing-clinton-prescription-drugs-1.3238202.
Mohney, G., “Company Will Lower Drug Price After Critics Called 4,000% Hike ‘Unjustifiable’,” ABC News web site, September 22, 2015; http://abcnews.go.com/Health/company-lower-drug-price-critics-called-4000-hike/story?id=33955820.