Hated HIV drug increase boss challenged by new rival drug

Martin Shkreli (Twitter)

Martin Shkreli (Twitter)

While the “world’s most hated man” defiantly continues to sell a lifesaving drug at an outrageous price, despite promising to make it affordable, a rival company has stepped in with a far cheaper medicine.

in September, Turing Pharmaceuticals head Martin Shkreli, shocked the world when he increased the price of the drug Daraprim overnight by 5,000 percent; from $13.50 to a whopping $750 per tablet.

The medicine, which has been around since the 1950s, is used to fight parasitic toxoplasmosis infections in people with compromised immune systems, such as those living with HIV.

After an international backlash, Shkreli promised to roll back the price. He’s now done so in some scenarios, but it remains outrageously unaffordable,

The company said it will reduce the medicine’s cost by “as much as 50 percent” when administered in hospitals. But this is still more than $375 per pill – far above the drug’s original $13.50 price.

Plus, out-of-hospital users will not get the discount at all and will pay $750 per tablet.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin commented that, “Martin Shkreli is not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.

“His desire to turn a profit at any cost and brazen disregard for the well-being of the most vulnerable patients – including people with HIV and pregnant women – is appalling and contemptible,” he said.

Shockingly, an unrepentant Shkreli stated in a recent Forbes Healthcare Summit interview that he should have increased the price even more that he did.

“I think I could have it raised it higher and made even more profit,’ he said. ‘My investors expect me to maximise profits, not to minimise them, or go half, or go 70%, but to go to 100% of the profit curve that we’re all taught in MBA class.”

Thankfully, Express Scripts and Imprimis Pharmaceuticals announced last week that they will start making and distributing a low-cost alternative to Daraprim, which will cost just $1 per bill.

While the news was welcomed by Griffin, he said that, “It doesn’t change the troubling fact that Martin Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals despicably preyed on vulnerable patients in an effort to turn a profit.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigating into whether Turing Pharmaceuticals may have violated antitrust laws by limiting distribution of a drug that is essential to the lives of medically vulnerable people.

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