CEO Who Jacked Up Life-Saving Drug’s Price Responds to Internet Outrage

The Internet isn’t just a place for cat videos and online trolling — it’s also a place where people’s voices can be heard.

Folks from all over have been expressing outrage online after a pharmaceutical company increased the price of a life-saving drug by more than 5,000 percent. The drug, Daraprim, was purchased by Turing Pharmaceuticals, which raised the price over night from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

The company’s CEO, Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, has come under heavy fire for his actions on social media this week, despite his claims that funds from the increase would go towards medical research for a more effective version of the drug. Medical experts have said there’s little need for a new version of the drug that’s been effective for more than 60 years, The New York Times reported.

Daraprim is the standard of care for treating a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. It’s used to treat malaria, women who become infected during pregnancy and also for people with compromised immune systems, like AIDS patients and certain cancer patients, according to The New York Times. The price increase brings the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After receiving criticism, Shkreli announced Tuesday, September 22, that he will lower the cost of the medication, NBC reported. Although he has not specified what the new cost will be, Shkreli said the decision to lower the cost was a reaction to the outrage expressed.

Yes it is absolutely a reaction — there were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action,” Shkreli told NBC. “I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people.”

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The incident has sparked discussion over high drug increases, with the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association sending a letter to Turing Pharmaceuticals this month calling the price increase for the medication “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population” and “unsustainable for the health care system,” The New York Times reported.

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