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Turing Refuses To Lower Cost Of Daraprim, Hides News Ahead Of Thanksgiving Holiday

from the the-absolute-worst dept

When last we checked in with Martin Shkreli — founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals and the personification of everything that’s wrong with the pharmaceutical industry and mankind — he was feebly defending his company’s decision to jack up the price of a 60-year-old medication some 5000%. Shkreli became America’s least liked human being after his company increased the price per pill of Daraprim (used by both AIDS and cancer patients) from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill. After relentless criticism, Shkreli appeared to backpedal, claiming last September the company would lower prices:

“We?ve agreed to lower the price on Daraprim to a point that is more affordable and is able to allow the company to make a profit, but a very small profit,? he told ABC News. ?We think these changes will be welcomed.”

Yeah, or not.

Hoping to bury any criticism ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Turing released a dodgy press release on Wednesday implying the company had finally seen the error of its ways and would be reducing the cost of Daraprim. Except it’s not actually doing anything of the sort. While the company will offer hospitals a 50% discount (now only a 2500% mark up) and is engaging in a few superficial efforts most companies already offer via their patient assistance programs, the press release buries the lede in that the core price of Daraprim isn’t going anywhere.

And, just to add insult to injury, a company spokesman insists that’s a good thing because (I kid you not) lower drug prices don’t benefit patients:

“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. A reduction in Daraprim’s list price would not translate into a benefit for patients.”

There’s nothing complex about being a raging asshole. There’s also nothing complex about a former hedge fund manager jacking up the price of an essential drug 5000% (as is happening with many previously-inexpensive generics), pretending he’d seen the error of his ways, then feebly trying to hide his total lack of integrity ahead of a long holiday weekend.

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Companies: turing pharmaceutical

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Comments on “Turing Refuses To Lower Cost Of Daraprim, Hides News Ahead Of Thanksgiving Holiday”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not sure such things are desirable. But socialized medicine in EU makes it possible to extort quite good numbers and the privatized medicine in USA is handled by insurance companies where extortion also works well.

However, the guy here seems to imply that the “marketing” and “conflicting of interests” are far more significant for pricing today than any other costs. That he is saying such is very disturbing since it points to a market that doesn’t appear anything near healthy.

Wendy Cockcroft says:

Re: Re: Re:

Relying on “the free market” to get anything done is a highway to a dead end, the reason being that there’s no such thing as a free market, never was, and never will be.

It’s a myth, like fairies and unicorns. Think about it: if you’re in a position to wall off your land and charge rent to walk through it, will you do that to make a buck or let people ramble around it at will?

That is the problem with patents or IPR of any kind; that’s what it’s for. That is why allowing such monopolies to exist on necessities like drugs is immoral. The market won’t correct itself. That there’s an alternative doesn’t matter that much; the failure to shift the price of the drug downwards means it’s not that much of an alternative and we’re stuck in a market lockdown situation.

I can understand wanting a monopoly on the distribution of a song, a book, or a movie, and as much as access to culture to use and remix as we see fit is important, it’s not a life-affecting essential. Medicine is. Shkreli has made the case for getting IPR off medicines and medical equipment and the sooner this is done, the better.

We can work at prying healthcare out of the clutches of the insurance giants afterwards.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

You missed his point..

… it has NOTHING to do with what a “patient” can afford; it has to do with what the patients “Insurance” can afford – so if the patients insurance can’t afford it, then obviously the patient needs better insurance.

Health care hasn’t given a rodent’s hind quarters about patient affordability in years…

And don’t forget – there is minimal short-term profit in a cure – but maximum long-term profit in treatments…

Chris says:

Really consider this – This guy quietly stays with his price hike. You know his friends, associates and loved ones etc – are either all on board with it and or shamed him into reversing his “bargain” price or he a full blown sociopath without a care- it really is class warfare here – and alot of rich people don’t give a single care for anyone but their $$$

Anonymous Coward says:

almost worth buying a horse for

Pyrimethamine (Daraprim) is also used in veterinary medicine. You can be damn sure that the farmers and ranchers giving this drug to horses and cattle are not paying tens of thousands of dollars per application.

So a quick Googling found quart-sized bottles (intended for horses) for under $100. Another sad example of the usual ten-thousand-percent+ markup whenever a common veterinary drug is packaged and sold for human use.

aerilus says:

the really sad thing is this drug is classified as essential for treating malaria. India mass produces it for a cost of 1-4 cents a pill. turing has also taken steps to make sure compounding pharmacies or competitors will have a hard time getting their hands on the drug to test generics against


Dan says:

This is your fault

If you’re pissed at this dude but fought against health care reform, congratulations on being a giant hypocrite. The fact is that what this asshole did is illegal or impossible in most other developed countries, and the American people are responsible for the fact that it’s not illegal here. Fight for health care reform or shut the fuck up about it; this guy may be an asshole but he’s just the fly that showed up to the dump YOU took.

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