Drug price sparks outcry: Daraprim Price Increase
Published: September 22, 2015
Drug price sparks outcry: Daraprim Price Increase, The price of a drug used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection has increased from $US13.50 per tablet to $US750, after being acquired by a start-up founded by a former hedge fund investor.
Turing Pharmaceuticals, founded by 32-year-old Martin Shkreli, acquired the drug Daraprim in August for $55 million and shortly raised the price of the treatment.
Daraprim is used mainly to treat toxoplasmosis, an infection that can cause serious complications in people with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS patients, as well as in babies born to women who became infected during pregnancy.
Mr Shkreli told the New York Times the start-up would use the money earned from the price hike to develop better treatments for the infection.
“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” Mr Shkreli said.
He said Daraprim was “still underpriced” in comparison to other drugs used to treat rare diseases, adding that many patients used the drug for less than a year.
“This is still one of the smallest pharmaceutical products in the world,” he said.
The increase has been met by both outrage and support by social media users.
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton pledged to take action against runaway price increase on specialty drugs.
“Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous,” Ms Clinton tweeted. “Tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to take it on.”
Users also defended Mr Shkreli and accused others of not reading past the headlines.
“An inordinate amount of pharmaceutical experts on Twitter today,” Edwin Urrutia tweeted.
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