Martin Shkreli, a and former hedge fund manager and the company’s founder and CEO , recently admitted on Twitter that the move was a “business decision” to the benefit of investors.
Doctors raised the alarm because the pyrimethamine marketed as Daraprim does not have an alternative. Additionally, the condition it is supposed to cure, toxoplasmosis, is a widespread food-borne intoxication that can often prove fatal to people with a weakened immune system such as HIV and cancer patients or pregnant women and the elderly.
Turning raised the price shortly after it has bought the drug from Impax Laboratories who owned a license since 1953.
A spokesperson for HIV Medicine Association said that the price is prohibitive even for insured people because health insurers often either remove high price drugs from their list of covered drugs or request patients to pay thousands of dollars per year for those drugs. For instance, a patient with an insurance plan that requires him or her to pay 20 percent of the price of the dug would have to pay out of pocket $150 for every pill.
The CDC estimates that 60 million people carry the Toxoplasma gonadi parasite. People get ill from cross contamination when cooking raw meat, using unclean utensils in kitchen, drinking contaminated water, and coming in contact with cat feces and not washing hands afterwards.
The bparasite can also be transferred from new moms to newborns and from ill donors to recipients during organ transplants. The illness has symptoms very similar to influenza but if the immune system is weak enough it can result in blindness, brain damage, and even death.
But when an online business journalist asked CEO Shkreli via Twitter about the reasons of the price increase, Shkreli resorted to ad personam attacks calling the journalist a ‘moron.’
Turing pharmaceuticals’ CEO eventually admitted that the move would benefit the company’s stakeholders, after he had claimed on CNBC that the hike in price was required to open 25 new posts for research and development.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton stepped in into the online discussion calling the new price ‘outrageous’ and promising that she would lay out a plan to solve the problem. Clinton’s campaign said that the presidential candidate would disclose a drug pricing proposal Sept. 22. Shortly after Clinton’s tweet, the Nasdaq biotech index sank 4.41 percent.
Image Source: Wikimedia