Earlier this year so-called Pharma Bro, Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, an medication used to fight parasitic infections in pregnant women and HIV patients from $13.50 to $750, an increase of more than 5, 000 percent.
Shkreli later decided to roll back the price increase after a media outcry and accusations of price gouging. He originally defended the price increase by claiming that the drug was “still under-priced”.
“If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don’t think that that should be a crime,” Shkreli said.
Now it seems that Shkreli, who has earned the moniker Pharma Bro decided to renege on the promise, thinking that in an age of short attention spans, everyone would have forgotten about his plan to take advantage of the most vulnerable.
In a statement Shkreli’s company defended the sudden change.
“We pledge that no patient needing Daraprim will ever be denied access,” Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, said in a news release. She added that “drug pricing is one of the most complex parts of the healthcare industry. A drug’s list price is not the primary factor in determining patient affordability and access.”
The media firestorm has been costly for Turing, Business Insider reported that they lost nearly $15 million in the third quarter.
Shkreli himself has been called by Congress to testify in front of a committee investigating price gouging in the pharmaceutical industry.
“When my lawyers tell me I absolutely have to go, I’ll go,” he said in an interview. “They don’t have subpoena power until they’ve got widespread support. I don’t have to go to a hearing unless there’s widespread support.”
[Raw Story] [Business Insider] [Salon]