A drug company increased the price of AIDS-treatment Daraprim by 5000 per cent sparking worldwide outrage
People in the US and beyond are outraged with a pharmeceutical company after it bought an AIDS-treatment drug and increased the price of the pills by 5000 per cent overnight.
In August, Turning Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to Daraprim, which has been around since the 1940s, and increased the price from $13.50 to $750 – enraging patients and doctors alike.
Daraprim is prescribed to treat toxoplasmosis – a food borne illness that can be deadly for those with weakened immune systems, including people with HIV.
Furious individuals have slammed Turing’s actions and it doesn’t help that the company’s CEO is a 32-year-old hedge fund manager who posts pictures of himself in helicopters on Twitter and called one journalist “a moron” after he was asked to defend the controversial decision.
Founder and CEO Martin Shkreli appeared on Bloomberg in the US to talk about the price hike of the pill, which costs as little as $1 to make, and stated: ‘We need to turn a profit on this drug’.
Shkreli pointed out that patients needed less than 100 pills to combat the disease and, at $13.50 a pop, that just wasn’t making enough money.
‘The price to save your life was only $1000,’ Shkreli explained, quite literally putting a price on a human life. ‘We know, these days cancer drugs can cost $100,000.’
People have called for new laws in the US to clamp down on multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies hiking up prices of drugs for a profit, including Hillary Clinton who called the move “outrageous” on Twitter.
Speaking at a rally in Little Rock, Arkansas yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Clinton stated her plans to crack down on “runaway prescription drug prices”:
‘Nobody in America should have to choose between buying the medicine they need and paying rent.’
The entrepreneur stated that the company will be giving away half of the drugs for $1 each and that now patients will actually be getting the pill faster and at “almost no cost”.
However someone has to pay for the drugs and a cynical observer might point out that since 16.4 million previously uninsured Americans are now covered thanks to Obamacare, that’s a whole lot more insurance money up for grabs for canny drug companies.
Whether you accept Shkreli’s reasoning or feel the outrage of general injustice over the eye-watering price increase, the incident highlights just how messy things get when healthcare systems are all about the bottom line.
What do you think about charging for life-saving drugs?