(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to reports, yet another life-saving drug will see an increase in price due to Turing Pharmaceuticals, and the pharm-world’s appointed villain, Martin Shkreli. Turing has already made headlines due to their unbelievable increase in price of Daraprim. It was a 62 year old drug, used for toxoplasmosis that helped children with parasitic infections and patients with AIDS.
The increase was of monstrous proportions, from a mere $13.50 per pill to $750. That’s a 5000% increase in price that has caused an uproar from the medical community, officials, and even presidential candidates. The media, doctors, and the world as a whole attacked Shkreli for the opportunistic increase, and has now become the official poster boy for greed in pharmaceutics.
And yet, it does not seem to stop there. Shkreli announced that he plans to increase the price of a drug for another disease, specifically Chagas. Currently, there are around 300,000 people in the United States with the condition, mostly after coming home from Central or South America. If it remains untreated, 30% of the cases evolve into very serious heart conditions.
Currently, the treatment costs between $50 to $100 for both the two months it will be needed. However, when this treatment will arrive in the U.S., pending FDA approval, the cost will likely be raised to between $50,000 and $60,000. That’s a near 6000% increase, so it seems that there’s no particular change in Shkreli’s methods.
By purchasing old drugs that patients depend on for years, the demand will remain even if the prices goes up. That means that usual treatments will now range from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. According to Dr. Sheba Meymandi, this has caused an uproar in the Chagas community. However, Shkreli already bought KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, the company that produces the treatment for Chagas, benznidazole.
It seems inevitable, though Shkreli counters with the claim that he means for money to be redirected toward research for other drugs. The price increase is still incredibly substantial that has officially lifted him to the rank of villain. According to Shkreli, drugs for rare diseases that he’s trying to develop don’t come cheap, and someone has to pay for them.
Apparently, that means that other patients will be those people.
The actions have drawn the wrath of consumers and doctors, criticizing that the funding should come from investors, not suffering patients. Essentially, to do things like any other biotech company startup does. However, Shkreli stated that his biggest duty is to his investors, which is how he dismissed critics of the Daraprim price increase.
There is no telling on how many drugs will go through the same process, but experts stated that this does show a crucial flaw in the system. Mainly, that this entire thing is perfectly legal. Shkreli’s action have been deemed as highly immoral by lifting the price of staying alive for some to atrocious proportions, but they are not illegal.
Image source: christopherfountain.files.wordpress.com