September 25, 2015

CEO defends 4,000% price hike as necessary for research and development

Martin Shkreli CEO drug price

Martin Shkreli is the founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG.

The Internet was set aflame this month by the news former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli dramatically raised the price of Daraprim, a generic drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, a serious disease associated with HIV, from $18 a pill to $750. Shkreli’s start-up company Turing Pharmaceuticals made the move after it bought the rights to produce the 62 year old drug from Impax Laboratories for $55 million in August.

The $732 price hike amounts to a 4,000% price increase for the drug. The drug costs approximately $1 to produce. At its current price of $750 per pill, it would only take a few hundred patients taking Daraprim for a year for Turing to recoup its $55 million purchase from Impax Laboratories. Shkreli personally took to television, Twitter, and other media to defend the overnight increase to the price of Daraprim, calling the move necessary to raise capital for research and development of other drugs to fight toxoplasmosis.

Daraprim’s dramatic price increase is only the latest in a series of similar moves Shkreli and other pharma execs have made to capitalize on obscure drugs produced to treat so-called orphan diseases. in 2011, Shkreli started Retrophin, buying up drugs and quickly raising prices. Shkreli was ousted from Retrophin after the company’s board members accused him using the company as a slush fund to pay back former hedge fund clients.

Federal lawmakers and presidential hopefuls alike are vowing to investigate Turing’s perceived price gouging of vulnerable disease patients. As a law firm committed to social justice and defending the rights of the less fortunate, The Cochran Firm, D.C. will closely monitor the situation. Our firm’s commitment to defending the rights of the underprivileged against powerful corporations is unwavering and will continue to update the public as this story develops.