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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 9:38am

    I dunno, I've seen some pretty sophisticated assholery in my day.
    This is not especially sophisticated, no.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 9:48am

    I knew he wasn't going to lower the drug price. You can't buy mega yachts by lowering drug prices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 9:52am

    Did you expect anything less from a Wallstreet sociopath? He should be hung in the streets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 9:58am

    Don't we have laws regarding price gouging?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:02pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Nov 2015 @ 5:40am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Transmitte, 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:00am

    Proof

    And thusly, removing ANY doubt that he is a complete and utter Shitlord.

    May his knees be broken repeatedly henceforth by a rabid badger with a spikey ballbat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:09am

      Re: Proof

      That's going a bit too far.

      I strongly suggest that you offer a non-rabid badger and ballbat without spikes under certain narrow circumstances. Be sure to point out that non-threatening and non-violent responses don't benefit those like Shkreli.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:29am

      Re: Proof

      HEY! As a fervent Gamergater and utter shitlord I take huge offense at being compared with a festering pustule on Satan's syphilitic shitter such as Shkreli.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous me, 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:01am

    (Still laughing after reading this article.) I love techdirt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      shitlord's daddy, 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:57pm

      Re: Still laughing

      You are a festering dick sore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:10am

    Since competition has already come out producing the near same drug at a more reasonable price, there is no need to buy this one with it's jacked up price. Only people who will pay for this are those with no clue.

    http://www.pharmamanufacturing.com/industrynews/2015/competitor-turings-daraprim/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:10am

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:31am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:14am

    Martin Shkreli has just deposed cancer as the emperor of all maladies. Cancer now requires immediate intervention to make sure it doesn't catch Martin Shkreli.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:29pm

    This guy's a damn cartoon character. Reality needs better writers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 6:54pm

    And all you hear from cannibal capitalists is we have too much regulation .. I call bullshit .. we need more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 10:35pm

    I look forward to the parodies and satire the public will make of this giant douche.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2015 @ 4:25am

    well this is how money is made
    this is how you get private jets and huge yachts

    he will get to the point where he HAS TO hire a PR firm and declare himself a philanthropist
    like Rockefeller, Carnegie, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 26 Nov 2015 @ 7:42am

    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 $$$

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2015 @ 9:13am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2015 @ 7:42pm

    I love how Techdirt sometimes takes a break from saying "Free speech to call someone an asshole all over the internet and let the crowd be the judge" to say "This specific guy is an asshole".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    aerilus, 27 Nov 2015 @ 2:09am

    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

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrimethamine#Availability_and_price

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 6 Dec 2015 @ 12:19pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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