CEO Drastically Raises Cost of Life-Saving Drug, Says It’s Altruistic

CEO Drastically Raises Cost of Life-Saving Drug, Says It’s Altruistic

CEO Drastically Raises Cost of Life-Saving Drug, Says It’s Altruistic

Imagine being only 32 years old and becoming possibly the most hated man in America.

If you were a pharmacy CEO and you just raised the cost of a a life-saving drug from $13.50 per pill to a whopping $750 per pill overnight, then you just might qualify.

Martin Shkreli, former hedge fund manager and now CEO of Turing Pharmaceutical, did just that with Daraprim, a 62-year-old drug which is seen as the standard of care for treating toxoplasmosis.


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection which can be serious or even life-threatening to babies born to mothers who become infected during pregnancy. It can also be deadly to those who are immunocompromised, such as HIV/AIDS patients and those undergoing chemotherapy.

This is not the first time Shkreli has drastically raised the price of a drug. Last year, as CEO of Retrophin, Shkreli raised the price of Thiola, a drug used to treat kidney stones, from $1.50 to $30 per pill. (Interestingly, Shkreli is being sued by Retrophin for $65 million).

Dr. Judith Aberg, chief of the infectious diseases division at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is alarmed. “What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” she said, adding her concern that hospitals may be forced to use less-effective therapies. The Infectious Disease Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association sent a joint letter to Turing calling the price increase “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population” and “unsustainable for the health care system.”

To that Shkreli replied that the price hike is ‘altruistic.’

He also claimed that the profit is ‘appropriate’ and “not any kind of ridiculous profit.”

The smarmy CEO tried to explain away his reason for the drastic price increase in the following interview.

Needless to say, Shkreli has received backlash, and has hardly been ‘altruistic’ in his responses. When Fierce Biotech editor John Carroll asked Shkreli to explain Turing’s move, the CEO responded with ad hominem attacks.

To which Shkreli replied:

You are such a moron.

— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) September 20, 2015

He also used rapper Eminem’s lyrics to fire back at critics.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 5.53.19 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-22 at 5.53.43 PM


But while Shkreli is ranting that Twitter is a “great medium for socialist and liberal rage,” Hillary Clinton is not about to let this crisis go to waste.

That’s not all. John Carroll reports that the Nasdaq biotech index dropped 1.8% in Monday morning trading with fears of possible legislative changes due to Shkreli’s and Turing’s move. And even if you don’t have any stock in biotech companies, or aren’t affected by the cost of medicine, you will be paying, too.

While Turing has set up a co-pay assistance program for persons hit by the rocketing price tag of Daraprim, prices will eventually be passed on to the rest of us through bigger insurance premiums and higher taxes.

The free market is a boon for economies, causing increased employment, salaries, and higher standards of living for us all. But if the free market — like government — is not tempered by moral order, then we all pay the price.

UPDATE: Shkreli has said that he will lower the price of the drug, but hasn’t specified how low the price will go. If he lowered it to $749.95 I wouldn’t be surprised, especially since he doesn’t seem to think he did anything unjust. He claims the problem is that “there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action. . .” Talk about tone-deaf.

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Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

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