In a failed bid for “Humanitarian of the Year,” Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli announced in September 2015 that he bought the rights to Daraprim and intended to raise the price by more than 5,000 % to $750/pill. Daraprim is a 60+ year old drug that treats a deadly parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis in pregnant women, AIDS patients and cancer patients. The drug has no competition.
Turing Pharmaceuticals is not the only greedy corporation purchasing “sole-source generic” drugs and charging outrageously high prices for them; however, Mr. Shkreli attracted special attention and outrage last month when he announced the dramatic increase to $750/pill for a unique lifesaving drug that previously sold for $13/pill.
Fortunately for the pregnant women, AIDS patients, cancer patients and those who love them, there is at least one way around Turing Pharmaceuticals’ price gouging. Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a San Diego-based drug compounding business has announced its perfectly legal intention to sell capsules of Daraprim’s active ingredients for $99 per 100-capsule bottle from its web site: http://imprimispharma.com/
A drug compounder mixes approved drug ingredients to fill specific patient prescriptions, at times due to the short supply the mass-produced version or to tailor the prescription. Unlike drug makers, Compounders do not need Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to compound drugs.
Imprimis also intends to compound the active ingredients of other generic drugs to counteract the greed of those who would purchase exclusive rights to a drug and market it at outrageously high prices.
Possibly in response to the public outcry, investigations and Imprimis announcement, Mr. Shkreli announced that Turing Pharmaceuticals intends to lower the $750/pill price of Daraprim by 10% before the end of 2015. Mr. Shkreli’s defense of Daraprim’s high price can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkgFA9q7w0w
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