A former hedge fund manager is justifying his startup company's decision to increase the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 per pill to $750 by saying it's necessary in order to create better medicine in the future.
Martin Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the drug Daraprim in August, The Guardian reports. Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be fatal when it affects babies born to infected mothers and people with compromised immune systems due to AIDS and certain cancers. Shkreli told Bloomberg News on Monday the company needs to "turn a profit on the drug," since research is costly and they want to come up with a newer version. Daraprim is the trade name for the generic drug pyrimethamine, which was developed in the 1940s and is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
The HIV Medicine Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America sent a letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals earlier in September, and said the 50-fold increase in price was "unjustifiable for the medically-vulnerable patient population" and "unsustainable for the health care system." Shkreli said Monday Daraprim is actually underpriced, and declared: "If you cannot afford the drug we will give it away for free." Catherine Garcia