A few weeks ago, people around the world were angered by the news that Turing Pharmaceuticals had raised the price of an important AIDS-related drug called Daraprim, which is also used for toxoplasmosis and malaria. We are used to seeing prices go up but their decision shocked many as the increase was over 5000 percent. The price went from $13.50 to $750.
The company did this out of nowhere and there was really no reason for it, the medicine isn’t facing shortages, isn’t new and doesn’t cost that much to make.
Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, has become one of the most hated men in the planet for his interviews and thoughts on the raise. The former hedge fund manager tried to convince people that the new price was to help out in treatment research and benefit patients but no one bought it. Mr. Shkreli is now known as Pharma Bro in many social media sites and forums. After the raise, politicians and people on social media had some things to say to him. One of them was Hillary Clinton, who promised to battle against the outrageous prices in the industry.
But it looks like there is competition and a new hero on the way. A rival company in the industry has decided to go up against the CEO by introducing a drug that will cost way less. Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IMMY) is now coming to the rescue by selling 100 pill packages of its Daraprim alternative for just $99.
Imprimis CEO Mark Baum said during the announcement that they respect their rival’s right to charge patients and insurance companies whatever they believe is appropriate, but that there are other options from Daraprim.
The 62-year-old Daraprim is sold in the United States by Turing, who recently bought the rights. Unlike Daraprim, Imprimis’s drug is not FDA approved, and can only be used when prescribed by a doctor.
Daraprim is mainly used to fight toxoplasmosis, which is usually spread by eating poorly cooked food.
The United States doesn’t have a control for the prices on medicines and buyers are mostly private companies and the Medicare and Medicaid system. The prices usually go up and down and depend on what people are willing to pay.
Mr. Shkreli agreed to lower prices after the news of the raise surfaced but it looks like he has changed his mind. The new option from Imprimis has made the company a fan favorite now, but will this really force others like Turing to lower prices on its medicines?
What do you think about Turing’s raise? Will Imprimis’s new drug shake up things in the industry? Let us know in the comments.