Daraprim is a drug that has been in the market for over six decades, and is a standard medication against food-borne disease toxoplasmosis, which can have drastic effects on those with damaged immune systems. This is exactly the reason why an HIV/AIDS patient advocacy group expressed concern over an overnight rise in its price last week.
The price hike that has created an outrage in the US is not a small one, as pharma company Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet. NDTV reported that , this price hike which the CEO Martin Shkreli describes as a common practice for raising profits, came immediately after Turing acquired rights for Daraprim last month.
Amidst the social media storm triggered by his questionable trade practices, Martin Shkreli has maintained a somewhat audacious approach towards media and critics. When John Caroll of daily newsletter 'Fierce Biotech' asked him the reason for the price hike, Martin Shkreli responded by simply calling him a "moron" on Twitter.
The move which has led consumers to call for a boycott of the company, the media called such 'price gouging' of a specialty drug "unjustifiable for medically vulnerable patients". The tremendous price hike also caught Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's attention, who called it "outrageous" and promised to "take it on" with a plan.
Turing spokesperson Craig Rothenberg responded that the money from sales will be used for more research on treatment of toxoplasmosis. He said that the firm had plans to invest in "marketing and education" to raise awareness, an answer many stakeholders are not really satisfied with.
While the hedge fund manager turned pharma company CEO Shkreli is facing a lot of heat, he is responding to criticism and questions by launching personal attacks and quoting Eminem.
Investing in research for the future is fine, but depriving patients of affordable healthcare by raising prices is questionable and unfair.
Feature image source: Twitter